LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) adjusted its epidemic order as COVID-19 cases across the state slowly start to decline.
The state is easing some of the requirements -- especially for those who are outside and vaccinated. The new COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order will go into effect Thursday.
The new rules impact everyone, particularly high school athletes. If a high school athlete has been vaccinated and isn’t symptomatic, they no longer have to be tested every week, which will change a lot of things.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is optimistic about the trend in Michigan’s COVID numbers as the daily case count continues to fall.
On April 16, there were 8,955 confirmed COVID cases reported. On Wednesday, the state reported 2,589 -- a 71% drop. There’s also been a 31% decrease in hospitalizations since April 6.
There’s also the possibility children may become eligible for vaccines, but Whitmer said they will not factor into Michigan’s total vaccinated percentage.
With many people deciding to not be vaccinated, what happens if we don’t get to 70%?
“If that’s the case, we’ll have to evaluate,” Whitmer said. “Our goal is 70%. You heard President Biden cite the same goal yesterday. This is our national goal and it’s very similar to Michigan’s. I’m glad we’re on the same page. We can do this. We have access to vaccines now, the question is going to be ‘Are we all going to jump in this together and encourage people?’”
The new Gatherings and Masks Order, which went into effect Thursday, contains the following updates:
- Large outdoor events, including festivals, fairs, and golf tournaments will be able to exceed the current 1,000-person limit so long as they create and post a safety plan consistent with the MDHHS Large Outdoor Event Guidance, and no more than 20 persons per 1,000 square feet are gathered in any space available to patrons.
- Outdoor stadiums and arenas:
- Stadiums complying with enhanced protocols will continue to be allowed to operate at 20% of their fixed seating capacity. For example, a stadium with a maximum capacity complying with enhanced protocols would be permitted to host 8,000 patrons.
- Otherwise, for stadiums or arenas with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or greater without enhanced protocols 1,000 patrons may be gathered (previously 750).
- For stadiums or arenas with a fixed seating capacity of 10,000 or greater without enhanced protocols 1,500 patrons may be gathered.
- Residential outdoor gatherings are allowed up to 50 people. Or, where density does not exceed 20 persons per 1,000 square feet of usable outdoor space, up to 300 people may be gathered.