Mayor Mike Duggan: Detroit to Bring Hundreds Back to Work

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In today’s Tele-Town Hall, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan revealed to Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah that the city is preparing to send hundreds back to work in areas like cutting grass, road work, and construction. Announcements are expected in the coming weeks from major employers.

Sending Detroit Back to Work

Detroit hasn’t stopped its economic development and recruitment efforts, Duggan said. But it’s critical that every person coming back to work is tested, he said, adding that businesses are responsible for providing their employees with masks.

“I think the governor did the right thing with mandating masks,” said Duggan. “It’s incumbent on the businesses to make sure people put on masks before their customers come in.”

Some have suggested that contact tracing could serve as a key tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19 as people return to work. While the method has value on a small scale — like with the city’s police force — it’s unrealistic to trace every person exposed, said Duggan.

“If I’m correct that 10% of Southeast Michigan has been exposed, that’s 400,000 people,” said Duggan. “What we’ve done is use it strategically.”

Transitioning Into Recovery Mode

The fact is, said Duggan, we’re going to be living with COVID-19 in our community for months or even more than a year. What we’ve got to do is go back to our lives in a way that minimizes the transmission, he added.

Duggan acknowledged the praise Detroit has received lately in its ability to slow its rate of COVID-19 cases.

“There is something about how fast the city of Detroit knocked this virus down,” he said.

The city’s next challenge is the economic impact the virus has caused. Detroit will likely have to cancel the blight removal planned in order to continue funding its police and fire departments, said Duggan.

“We have been hit hard but we had quite a bit of cushion in place.”

For Detroit businesses looking to return their employees to work, the city is offering to test all employees for free. Call (313) 230-0505 or visit detroitmi.gov to learn more.

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