LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday offered little hope regarding state help for restaurant and other workers who may lose their jobs as a result of new coronavirus restrictions announced Sunday, saying Michigan’s finances are also tight.

That is why a new federal stimulus package is more essential than ever, Whitmer said.

Whitmer said on a call with Capitol reporters she will join other Midwest governors from both political parties Tuesday in making a joint appeal to Congress for help.

“Our resources are strapped,” Whitmer said of the state of Michigan. “That’s why this stimulus is so important.”

She said unemployment insurance is available, but that help is very limited compared to what it was early on in the pandemic, when more federal help was available.

On Sunday, Whitmer announced new coronavirus restrictions, which begin Wednesday and are expected to last three weeks, that will close indoor service at bars and restaurants, shutter casinos, theaters and bowling alleys, and place further limits on gyms while halting in-person schooling for high school and college students. It’s not known how many people will lose work as a result of the new orders under Michigan’s Public Health Code.

The maximum a worker can now receive is $362 a week, compared to $962 a week under an early federal stimulus package that included a $600 weekly supplement. With Congress unable to agree on a new stimulus deal, Trump later authorized a new weekly supplement that was half that size, at $300, but that six-week measure was backdated to Aug. 1 and has since expired.

She said she expects to join governors from Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky Tuesday in making a joint plea to the president and Congress.

Though some of those governors are Democrats and some are Republicans, “we are all in the same boat,” Whitmer said. “Our restaurants and our restaurant workers are struggling.”

Staff writer Adrienne Roberts contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Whitmer says state can’t do much to help laid-off workers, calls for stimulus package


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