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Gov. Whitmer extends COVID-19 restrictions by 12 days

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) announced on Monday that her state’s indoor dining and in-person classes restrictions will stay in effect for 12 more days up through December 20, followed by “cautious re-engagement” in combatting fight the growing spread of the novel coronavirus, The Detroit Free Press reports.

“Right now, 79% of all hospital beds are occupied—the hospital capacity issue that we are dealing with right now is different than it was in the spring,” Whitmer said. “Because in the spring, different parts of our state had different COVID numbers, patients could be transferred from one area that had […] higher COVID numbers to an area that had lower COVID numbers before they ask for staff to come in and help in places that were being overwhelmed.”

Like many other states, Michigan is facing a shortage of space in its hospitals with the increased caseload.

“Unfortunately, that is not the case right now because hospitals across Michigan are all filling up,” Whitmer added. “Hospitals across the country are all filling up.”

Michigan health officials announced three-week-long restrictions on November 15 in response to the mounting number of COVID-19 cases. These guidelines, which went into effect on November 18, were originally supposed to expire at the end of the day Tuesday, The Free Press reports.

“We have made progress during this three-week pause. Cases and mobility have started to level off,” Whitmer stated.

On top of public mask mandates and gathering limits, the restrictions outlawed indoor dining at restaurants and bars, effectively shuttered entertainment venues such as movie theaters and bowling alleys, banned in-person classes for high schools and colleges, and temporarily suspended high school sports, The Free Press writes.

Outdoor gatherings of 25 people or less are permitted while retail stores and salons can stay open as long as they follow Michigan’s face mask order. Unlike the restrictions from March and April, these new restrictions will not be a complete economic shutdown.

According to the state’s data, over the course of Sunday and Monday, the average number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases has been 4,675 per day.

Furthermore, Dave Boucher and Kristen Jordan Shamus of The Free Press write that the move to extend guidelines implemented in the middle of last month will be met with fierce criticism from businesses and Republicans, who control both chambers in the state legislature.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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DOJ charges eleven pro-life protesters ‘aided and abetted by one another’

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Eleven pro-life protesters were charged with violating federal law by the Department of Justice Wednesday for blocking abortion clinics. The individuals, “aided and abetted by one another, used force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate, and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services” said the DOJ.

According to a summary of the indictment, seven of the demonstrators were charged with conspiracy against rights secured by the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which prohibits obstructing the entrance to an abortion facility. The remaining four were charged with violating the legislation.

Pro-life activist AJ Hurley told Live Action News  the FBI raided the home of Chester Gallagher, the organizer of the protest and one of the accused conspirators, on Tuesday with guns drawn. He said Gallagher’s neighbors told him Gallagher was out of state when the FBI showed up and entered his home.

National Review reports that Hurley also told Live Action News that the FBI reportedly recently called a few of the charged individuals to tell them they had arrest warrants and that they must turn themselves in. If convicted, those charged with conspiracy could face up to eleven years in prison and fines up to $250,000, the DOJ confirmed.

National Review writes:

Gallagher allegedly advertised a series of pro-life events on social media for March 2021 in the Nashville area. The indictment claims he and other coordinators recruited participants to travel to the city and erect a blockade, which Gallagher allegedly called a “rescue,” at Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mount Juliet, Tenn., to prevent pregnant women from pursuing abortions.

A livestream of the stand-in shows activists chanting and singing prayer up the stairs to and along the hallway outside the abortion clinic, located in an office complex. Police officers eventually appeared in the video urging them to take their protest outside to the sidewalk.

“This is not allowed guys. Asking you to leave the property or I will call the police,” a security guard can be heard saying. The indictment alleges that the group prevented a patient and an employee from entering the facility. After they refused to leave the premises, the activists were reportedly escorted away to jail by police on misdemeanor trespassing charges. One pro-life activist wroteon March 6, 2021, on Facebook the claim that one “rescuer” was held on $1,000 bail, six, including Gallagher, on $1,500 bail, and two on $2,500 bail.

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