LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is outlining four specific vaccination goals that, once they are reached, will directly trigger the loosening of certain COVID-19 restrictions across the state, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revealed.
Here’s how the plan works:
- Step 1: Two weeks after 55% of Michiganders have gotten at least one shot, the state will allow in-person work for all sectors of business.
- Step 2: Two weeks after 60% of Michiganders have gotten at least one shot, the state will increase indoor capacity and sports stadiums and indoor capacity at conference centers, banquet halls and funeral homes to 25%. It will also increase capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50% and lift the curfew on restaurants and bars.
- Step 3: Two weeks after 65% of Michiganders have gotten at least one shot, the state will lift all indoor capacity limits and require only social distancing between parties, as well as further relax limits on residential social gatherings.
- Step 4: Two weeks after 70% of Michiganders have gotten at least one shot, the state will lift the gatherings and face masks order so MDHSS won’t broadly mitigate it unless there are unanticipated circumstances (variants that resist the vaccine, etc.).
The “MI Vacc To Normal” plan will use data for Michiganders ages 16 years and older who have received their first dose. It’s designed to get Michigan to its original goal of vaccinating 70% of the population age 16 and older.
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“The MI Vacc to Normal challenge outlines steps we can take to emerge from this pandemic as we hit our vaccination targets together,” Whitmer said. “On our path to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, we can take steps to gradually get back to normal while keeping people safe.”
Michigan’s release noted that if any region’s seven-day case rate is greater than 250 cases per million population when Step 2 and Step 3 are reached in this plan, MDHHS might delay the loosening of restrictions in that region.
“We can end this virus on our terms by following the protocols we are putting forward, encouraging everyone in your life to do the same, and ensuring that everyone eligible to receive a vaccine gets one,” Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist said. “What we have been observing across our state is that the thing that moves a person to choose to get vaccinated is hearing from someone they know about why it is so important, why they chose to get vaccinated.”
Michigan has administered more than 6.7 million doses of the vaccine. One million doses have been administered in the last 11 days, officials said.
“By getting shots in their arms as soon as possible, Michiganders can protect themselves, their families and their communities and help end this pandemic as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Michigan currently has a mask mandate and capacity limitations on indoor dining, indoor gatherings and entertainment venues.
National experts have said that as the number of vaccinations increase, states can loosen some public health policies because certain activities are less risky for vaccinated people.
“If residents continue to get their vaccines, wear masks and avoid indoor gatherings, we will soon be able to take further steps to loosen our public health requirements and better be able to enjoy the activities that we all love,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said.