LANSING, Mich. (Great Lakes News) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she will highlight Michigan small businesses during the next seven days leading up to her Jan. 26 virtual State of the State address.

In a press release on Wednesday, Whitmer said “Small businesses form the backbone of our economy and are cornerstones of so many communities across our state.”

Whitmer’s comments come after nearly two years of executive orders which hampered small businesses during imposed coronavirus restrictions.

Gov. Whitmer put the state under a three-week stay-at-home order on March, 23, 2020 which closed down all “essential” businesses. She continued to extend that same stay-at-home order into the summer of 2020, prohibiting residents from getting haircuts, purchasing seeds, having their lawns mowed, and picking up patio furniture.

In November 2020, Whitmer issued another “three-week-pause” to curb an impending coronavirus surge, which applied to small businesses and public schools. For restaurants and bars, the three-week-pause lasted until July 2021.

Thousands of businesses shuttered in Michigan during the last two years.

Great Lakes News reached out to several Republican candidates running to unseat Whitmer in November. Tudor Dixon responded to our inquiry, saying, “Gretchen Whitmer’s talk is cheap. She crushed businesses with her oppressive lockdown policies and targeted companies that defied her orders.”

Dixon went on to say, “She was heartless and cruel in her coronavirus response when it came to small businesses and nursing home patients and school children. We will not forget what she did to our state and will hold her accountable in this election.”