Michigan to reopen further ‘in coming days’ as COVID numbers improve, Whitmer says

‘We’re expecting to make more announcements on additional re-engagements,’ governor says

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a Feb. 24, 2021, COVID-19 briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – More of Michigan is expected to reopen in the “coming days,” with the loosening of some COVID-19 restrictions, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“We’re expecting to make more announcements on additional re-engagements in the coming days,” Whitmer said. “Our case numbers and public health metrics are trending in the right direction, and we’re very pleased to see that.”

READ: 12 takeaways from Gov. Whitmer’s Feb. 24 COVID-19 briefing

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a three-week pause in mid-November, and that pause has been extended and revised several times throughout the last three months.

Most recently, the order was quietly extended by the state until March 29, but Whitmer hinted Wednesday that there will be more re-engagement soon.

“I’m feeling very optimistic, so let’s keep it up,” Whitmer said.

Nursing home visits and gathering restrictions are among the issues being considered.

“We’re looking very closely at the trend lines,” Whitmer said. “We have seen, really, Michigan move into a much stronger position.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to announce additional aspects of re-engagement on (the nursing home) front -- hopefully as soon as next week.”

She said if the state takes a step toward allowing more gatherings, it will be incremental. That’s to avoid a major spike in cases.

“As we are determining next steps, this is part of the conversation that we’re having,” Whitmer said. “One of the things, though, that I caution, is we know one of the biggest places of spread this fall were in homes. They were gatherings that were happening, where people were dropping their guard.

“Every step we’ve taken has been incremental. Like we’ve said, it’s a dial, not a light switch.”

It doesn’t sound like restaurants will see their restrictions loosened, though.

“I’m hopeful that eventually we get to that point,” Whitmer said. “But at this juncture, we’ve been at it just a couple of weeks. We’ve got to keep watching the data. We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got antigen tests that are available.”

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.