Michigan has reached the first of the state’s vaccination milestones, meaning in-person work will be allowed to resume in two weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced.
As of Monday, 55% of Michiganders have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Whitmer said. That’s the first of four vaccine-based reopening thresholds the state established late last month.
I’m excited to announce that 55% of Michiganders have gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a huge milestone in getting #MIVaccToNormal and means that on May 24 we can return to in-person work. If you haven’t yet, please schedule a vaccine appointment today. pic.twitter.com/Q827k3Rhii— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) May 10, 2021
MDHHS announced that two weeks after 55% of Michiganders -- or 4,453,304 residents -- received at least one shot, the state would allow in-person work for all sectors of businesses.
Vaccines take two weeks after the final dose to reach their peak effectiveness, so that’s why each of the steps are triggered two weeks after the percentage threshold is met.
Right now, Michiganders aren’t supposed to return to in-person work unless their jobs can’t be done remotely. In two weeks -- May 24 -- that will change, the governor said.
While people may get to return to their office in two weeks, it’s not clear exactly what the state will mandate. If the current guidance remains in place, it will mean mask wearing and social distancing.
“We know it’s going to be different, we know that not everybody is going to come back straightaway but this is the start,” said Brian Calley, President of the Small Business Association of Michigan.
The next milestone is 60% of Michiganders with at least one dose of the vaccine.
Two weeks after 60% of Michiganders -- or 4,858,150 residents -- have gotten at least one shot, the state will make significant changes to capacity restrictions.
Capacity for indoor sports stadiums, indoor conference centers, indoor banquet halls and indoor funeral homes will be increased to 25%.
Capacity at exercise facilities and gyms will be increased to 50%.
The curfew on restaurants and bars will be lifted at the second stage in the plan. Right now, they are required to stop offering indoor dining at 11 p.m.
Reaching the next threshold of 60% is achievable but will likely take some time since Michigan’s vaccination rates have been dropping since April.
“We are very concerned about the future milestones especially 65% and 70% are just not achievable as we see the way vaccination rates have dropped down,” Calley said.
If any region’s seven-day case rate is greater than 250 cases per million population when Step 2 is reached, MDHHS might delay the loosening of restrictions in that region, according to a state release.