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The owner of a Michigan drive-in movie theater is refusing to budge on the state’s stay-at-home order and has petitioned Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to allow the establishment to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Susan Magocs, co-owner of Capri Drive-in, which has been in business for 56 years, said on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday that “the drive-in seems very safe” and she doesn’t understand why she can’t resume business.
Magocs made the comments three days after Whitmer extended Michigan’s state of emergency and disaster declaration through May 28, even after hundreds of protesters, some of whom were armed, gathered in the state Capitol building to voice their displeasure with the Democratic governor.
In her declaration announcement, Whitmer said scientific data shows the state is not ready to resume normal operations.
“It defies common sense and science," she said during a virtual town hall Thursday night. "We are still in a state of emergency. We have to take this seriously. If we are smart, we can start to reengage safely."
Magocs pointed out on Sunday that “our season up here is relatively short,” adding, “it’s how we make a living and Michigan, we only have just so much [sic] months to make it.”
She noted that the drive-in was first slated to open on March 20, but that “was denied.” She said the date was then moved to April, then May 1, then May 15 and now May 28.
At the end of last month Whitmer made some revisions to the policy.
Landscapers, lawn-service companies and bike repair shops were allowed to resume operations, as long as they follow social distancing rules. Those selling nonessential supplies were allowed to reopen for curbside pickup and delivery.
The order did not explicitly address the auto industry, an industry vital in places such as Detroit. However, if did flag "transportation and logistics" and "critical manufacturing" as areas where some employees could return to work.
The new order came amid increasing pressure on Whitmer as the claims of overreach have gone from mere accusations to legal threats. Anglers, landscaping companies and others had filed lawsuits against the order.
In addition to Thursday’s protest, another called “Operation Gridlock” was held on April 15 and drew thousands outside the Capitol building, in addition to another gathering outside Whitmer's home.
Magocs said she didn’t understand why her family’s drive-in theater could not open, but some other businesses could.
“I look at other businesses. I know she let some things open up. I don't understand because really, some of the businesses that have been able to open, I can still social distance better than that, you’re sitting in a car,” Magocs said.
“I think the other thing that we’re maybe forgetting is … people’s mental health,” she continued. “We can stay inside only so long and the weather here is just starting to get nice. It was 72 here yesterday. That is warm for us right now. We're ready to get out.”
Magocs went on to say that she thinks going to the drive-in is one way people can get out of their homes.
“Getting out, coming to the drive-in seems very safe,” she said.
Magocs said last week she put a message on the drive-in’s marquee asking for help.
“I petitioned on my marquee, was it Monday, I said, ‘Want to open. Can't. Call governor. Thanks.’ Because I don't understand why we can't,” she said. Magocs added that she also posted a similar message on the drive-in’s Facebook page and website “because I need the help. I need to know why.”
Whitmer did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Michigan recorded more than 41,000 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday, including more than 3,900 deaths, according to data compiled by Fox News.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.