Gov. Whitmer outlines Michigan’s new schedule for lifting COVID rules, getting life ‘back to normal’

State adjusts MI Vacc To Normal plan

An open sign in the window of a business.
An open sign in the window of a business. (Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels.)

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer officially revealed Michigan’s new schedule for eliminating COVID restrictions and returning to normal.

MORE: 9 takeaways from Whitmer’s May 20, 2021, COVID update

On Wednesday, the governor’s office hinted that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services would update its pandemic order after the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention made changes to its recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

Less than 24 hours later, Whitmer held a COVID briefing and announced a revised MI Vacc To Normal plan as cases decline and the number of vaccinated residents rises.

Here’s what’s changing:

Mask policy

Whitmer announced Michigan is adjusting its mask policy in accordance with new guidelines set by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

“Last Thursday, the CDC released new guidance on masks, based on the strength of vaccines preventing infections and spread among vaccinated people,” Whitmer said.

The guidance says 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.”

June 1

On June 1, all outdoor capacity limits will be lifted.

“We will maintain our mask rule, as already announced, but otherwise lift all mitigation measures on outdoor gatherings, and only retain a 50% capacity limit on indoor establishments,” Whitmer said. “That means that an indoor social gathering like a wedding or a funeral or a conference or a graduation party will be allowed to resume at 50% capacity through the month of June.”

In June, people who are not yet fully vaccinated are required to continue to wear masks when they’re indoors, Whitmer said.

The 11 p.m. curfew on bars and restaurants will also be lifted June 1.

MDHHS will officially release the updated order Monday, she said.

July 1

On July 1, Michigan will take its final step in reopening by lifting the broad mask and gatherings order and will no longer impose broad mitigation measures during the pandemic. Businesses and workplaces have the right to require masks beyond that date.

“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.”

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.

Gov. Whitmer sets timeline for lifting COVID rules; Full reopening on July 1
Gov. Whitmer sets timeline for lifting COVID rules; Full reopening on July 1

MI Vacc To Normal plan

Whitmer said when the CDC changed its recommendations, it forced her administration to go back to the drawing board in terms of the MI Vacc To Normal plan. That’s how the above changes came about.

“We went back to the drawing board,” 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.”

Michigan reached the first milestone -- 55% percent of residents age 16 and up with at least one shot -- on May 10, meaning all employees could return to in-person work by May 24.

“Next Monday, we’ll have a lot more details to share on the MIOSHA rules for COVID-19 workplace safety,” Whitmer said.

Michigan now only has the two steps outlined above before it returns to normal, Whitmer said.

MDHHS: Masks should still be worn in classrooms, indoor contact sports
MDHHS: Masks should still be worn in classrooms, indoor contact sports

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