7 facts to know about Michigan’s new plan to fully reopen, return to normal

Gov. Whitmer outlines two steps for reopening Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her May 20, 2021, COVID-19 press briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan has released its new plan for fully reopening the state as COVID-19 cases decline and residents eye a return to normalcy.

From 4 steps to 2

The old MI Vacc To Normal plan had four steps to get back to normal, now it’s been condensed into two.

On April 29, the plan was presented with reopening incentives tied to vaccination percentages. When 55%, 60%, 65% and 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and up got at least one dose, more of the state would reopen.

Now, there are only two steps, the second of which will be a lifting of the broad mask and gatherings rule.

“We went back to the drawing board,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Originally our plan had four steps, each of which was tied to a percentage of Michiganders receiving the first shot, plus two weeks.”

June 1: Outdoor events

The first important date is June 1, which is when capacity limits will be lifted for outdoor events.

“Starting June 1, we will be moving forward, faster than excepted, towards a return to normalcy,” Whitmer said.

She said the state will maintain its mask rule, but otherwise lift all mitigation measures on outdoor gatherings.\

“This pandemic has been so difficult for so many Michiganders,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said. “We’ve made incredible sacrifices for the good of public health and the safety of our friends, family, and communities.”

June 1: Indoor capacity limits

Also on June 1, capacity limits for indoor events will increase to 50%.

That means indoor social gatherings -- including weddings, funerals, conferences and graduation parties -- can all fill to half capacity.

“(We will) only retain a 50% capacity limit on indoor establishments,” Whitmer said. “That means that an indoor social gathering ... will be allowed to resume at 50% capacity through the month of June.”

Masks in June

Michigan has updated its mask policy so that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or socially distance indoors or outdoors, with exceptions for certain medical spaces.

“We have adjusted our mask policy to match the CDC recommendation,” Whitmer said. “So now, in Michigan, fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors or indoors unless required by their work or business.”

Still, throughout the month of June, people who are not yet fully vaccinated will still be required to wear a mask indoors.

July 1: No gathering capacity limits

On July 1, the second of the two dates included in the new plan, Michigan will no longer have capacity limits on indoor or outdoor gatherings.

“As Michiganders have stepped up to get vaccinated and the CDC has released new guidance on masks, we are adapting the MI Vacc to Normal challenge to keep up,” Whitmer said.

“Soon, Michiganders will be able to celebrate together, have summer weddings and even enjoy a Fourth of July barbecue with family and friends,” she added. “This is what we have all been working so hard towards, and I am so grateful to every Michigander who continues to go above and beyond to keep themselves, their family, and our communities safe.”

July 1: ‘Back to normal’

More specifically, Whitmer labeled July 1 as the day Michigan takes its final step in the reopening process.

This is the date when officials plan to lift the broad mask and gatherings order and no longer impose broad mitigation measures during the pandemic.

“Unless, of course, unanticipated circumstances arise,” Whitmer said. “We do not expect that to happen. We look at this as the last moment of these types of orders.”

Businesses and workplaces have the right to require masks beyond that date.

There might be one or more targeted orders in place to protect vulnerable residents, the governor said.

“But for the most part, life will be back to normal,” Whitmer said.

Restaurant notes

Whitmer confirmed the curfew on restaurants and bars will be dropped June 1.

Right now, restaurants and bars have to stop offering indoor dining at 11 p.m.

“The curfews are dropped, as well,” Whitmer said. “What we know is that when the CDC came out with this new rule is they have confidence that the science bears out that if you are vaccinated, you are safe to go without a mask in all places.”

About the Author:

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.