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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shared a video on Twitter Wednesday telling children that the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy classify as essential workers and can continue doing their jobs during the statewide stay-at-home order meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Whitmer, a Democrat, also reminded young ones to listen to their parents, continue to wash their hands, and expect possible substitutions from their normal treats in their Easter baskets this year.
“Leaders everywhere have heard a few concerns from children, so I wanted to be sure to address two important topics with our kids — the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy,” Whitmer tweeted Wednesday, sharing a video message sitting in her home with her dog Kevin.
“We heard there were a few kids in Michigan who had some concerns, so we wanted to let you know that I spoke with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy to let them know that they are essential workers and they can keep doing their jobs even though the rest of us are staying home,” she said.
“They’re following all of the procedures we gave them to make sure they can stay safe and healthy,” the governor continued, wearing a sweatshirt, with her fireplace roaring in the background.
“Now, they did let us know that there was an increase in demand for the goodies that they leave behind for you all, so they may need to make some substitutions for this year’s treats. But, they are excited to visit you and simply ask that you be sure to listen to your parents. Make sure you wash your hands so that you can stay happy and stay healthy.”
Michigan ranked third in the nationwide tally of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, recording at least 20,346 confirmed cases, with 959 deaths by Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Whitmer is expected to extend the statewide stay-at-home order on Thursday that’s shut all non-essential business in the state since March 24. She said Wednesday she would announce exactly how long the extension would last, WWMT West Michigan reported.
Michigan’s economy has remained at an effective standstill for about three weeks, with Detroit considered a growing hotspot in infections. Most churches have already shut their doors, switching to virtual services in the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday this coming weekend on April 12.
“While we’re all making sacrifices to be at home, and I know it’s hard, it’s really important that we continue to do that,” she told the station in another video message. “Precisely how long the order will take effect for, you’ll have to tune in tomorrow to see, but it is going to be a bit longer.”
A recent editorial in her home-state paper, The Detroit News, published on Saturday accused Whitmer of playing politics during the coronavirus pandemic, targeting President Trump’s federal response to the public health crisis in a bid to secure her nomination as former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate.
“We have no criticism of how Whitmer is handling this crisis; she is taking the same steps as most other governors in states hard hit by the virus,” the editorial read. “But she’s also assumed the role of designated Democratic attack dog in this crisis, appearing almost daily on cable news shows to criticize the administration’s handling of the virus response. That creates confusion about whether Whitmer is advocating for her Michigan constituents, or carrying out her duties as co-chair of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, or worse, serving her own ambition to be vice president.”
Last weekend, Trump called her “Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer,” charging that she was in “way over her head” and “doesn’t have a clue” about how to handle the health crisis. Two days earlier, Trump said he had instructed Vice President Mike Pence, the leader of the White House pandemic response, not to call “the woman in Michigan.”
Trump has since deleted the tweets criticizing Whitmer and mentioned during a White House briefing Tuesday that they had a productive conversation earlier in the day. Whitmer has also backed away from feuding with the president as the state grapples with the escalating crisis.
Fox News’ Talia Kaplan contributed to this report.