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Whitmer extends water shutoff protections

LANSING (AP) — Protections to prevent water shutoffs during the coronavirus pandemic are being extended to the end of the year under an order signed Wednesday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Since March, 2,477 Michiganders have had their water restored through a grant to help utilities reconnect consumers.

Last week, Whitmer signed a bill designating $25 million in federal funding for the state Department of Health and Human Services to forgive past-due utility bills and fees of residential customers.

“As Michigan families grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 on public health and our economy, our administration is taking proactive steps to ensure that no one has to worry about having access to clean drinking water or losing power during this unprecedented crisis,” Whitmer said in a statement.

In late March, the state began reconnection efforts, allocating a $500,000 grant to Detroit that helped to reconnect 1,200 families to water. Detroit has been a hot spot for Michigan COVID-19 with 11,805 confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

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