Whitmer hints Michigan COVID restrictions could be lifted soon -- Here’s what you need to know

Governor says changes could be announced ‘in coming days’

An open sign in the window of a business. (Pexels)

LANSING, Mich. – Michiganders might not have to wait until July for COVID restrictions to be lifted.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hinted Wednesday (June 16) that restrictions could be lifted “in the coming days.”

Here’s what you need to know about the situation:

July 1

On May 20, Whitmer and state officials announced an adjusted timeline for fully reopening the state.

Previously, the rolling back of restrictions was tied to Michigan’s vaccination rate, with 70% of people ages 16 and up needing to get at least one dose of the vaccine to trigger a full reopening.

But the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention overhauled its mask and gatherings recommendations right after Whitmer announced that “MI Vacc To Normal” plan, and the number of additional residents getting the vaccine greatly slowed.

As a result, Michigan’s reopening plan was simplified: Some of the restrictions would be lifted June 1, and the rest would be lifted July 1.

Among the rules still in place until July 1 are the broad mask and gatherings order and some indoor capacity limits. Restaurants no longer have a curfew as of June 1, but they are still capped at 50% indoor dining capacity until July 1.

It sounds like that could all change again, though.

COVID numbers

On Wednesday, Michigan announced its lowest single-day COVID case total since June 22, 2020. The state revealed 179 new COVID cases and four deaths.

It’s the fifth-straight day with fewer than 200 cases for Michigan -- counting Monday’s two-day total of 338 as 169 per day.

From 9,000 to 300: How Michigan turned COVID crisis around in under 2 months

Hospitalizations are down. Deaths are down. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun hasn’t needed to join a press conference and update the case, hospitalization and positivity rate for weeks, but all signs point to Michigan making progress across the board.

Whitmer’s recent comments

So what exactly did the governor say about a change in the restrictions? Here’s the quote that caught everyone’s eye:

“I would anticipate, whether it’s MIOSHA or it is the next step in returning to normal, we’ll probably have something to talk about in the coming days and make some announcements soon,” Whitmer said.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist was perhaps even more clear about the state’s intentions.

“The COVID numbers have been trending in the right direction and we’re happy to see that,” Gilchrist said. “We have shown we’ll respond to the reality on the ground of those numbers, and so that’s why it is certainly a possibility we may change the health protocols before July 1.”

They didn’t specifically say that all the COVID restrictions would be lifted early, nor specify which ones. But it certainly sounds like we won’t have to wait until July 1 to get even closer to normalcy.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer: Restrictions could be lifted in 'coming days'

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.