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Everything you should know before Gov. Whitmer’s briefing to fully reopen Michigan

Governor to highlight full re-opening of Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (State of Michigan)

DETROIT – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is set to hold a briefing today as the state of Michigan reopens to full capacity and drops its COVID-19 mask and gathering restrictions.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Today’s briefing

Whitmer said the reason behind Tuesday’s briefing is to highlight the full re-opening of the state and announce a plan to boost well-paying jobs.

She is speaking at noon in Detroit, with Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun.

Click here to watch Whitmer’s briefing live.

Remaining COVID restrictions

Last week, Whitmer announced the state would fully reopen today, as opposed to the original July 1 target.

Many of Michigan’s restrictions were lifted June 1, but now, both indoor and outdoor settings will increase to 100% capacity, and face masks will no longer be required. Individual businesses will still be allowed to require masks.

“Today is a day that we have all been looking forward to, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and put this pandemic behind us,” Whitmer said.

Here are some of the other orders that are being rescinded Tuesday, in addition to the gatherings and mask order:

  • Temporary restrictions for entry into congregate care and juvenile justice facilities
  • Mandatory testing for MDHHS’ juvenile justice facility staff
  • Mandatory testing for MDHHS hospitals and centers staff
  • Exceptions to temporary restrictions on entry into congregate care and juvenile justice facilities
  • Exceptions to temporary restrictions on entry into certain facilities
  • Safe housing for housing unstable individuals
  • Handling of bodily remains
  • Safe housing for Michigan homeless

Some orders will remain in effect to protect vulnerable populations in corrections, long-term care and agricultural settings, according to the state.

Public health measures will continue for reporting requirements and COVID testing to make sure areas where community spread is high are identified, children are safe in school and free COVID tests are available, the state announced. Guidance for keeping children and staff safe in schools will be released next week.

15 months of restrictions

Michigan has been under some type of COVID order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services since March 2020.

First, there was the stay-at-home order.

Michigan stay-at-home order timeline: 70 days, 4 extensions, ever-changing restrictions

Whitmer announced the stay-at-home order 456 days ago, on March 23. It went into effect the following day and lasted for 10 weeks. It was extended on April 9, April 24, May 7 and May 22, with varying degrees of revisions.

On June 1, the stay-at-home order was lifted, but Michigan remained under loosened restrictions, including gathering limits, a mask mandate and capacity rules.

When COVID cases spiked in the fall, MDHHS announced a three-week “pause” from Nov. 18 through Dec. 8.

READ: Timeline of how COVID trends actually changed since Michigan issued, extended, revised order

Michigan was reporting between 6,000 and 9,000 new cases per day before the stricter order was issued. It was extended for 12 additional days Dec. 7, then revised and extended again Dec. 18.

From there, Michigan gradually loosened restrictions throughout 2021, eventually announcing the “MI Vacc To Normal” plan in late April that mapped out a path to reopening through vaccination percentages.

That plan was scrapped a few days later for the most recent model, which aligned with Centers For Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. That plan set June 1 and July 1 as hard milestones to partially and then fully reopen the state, with some exceptions for vulnerable populations.

Now, Michigan is taking the final step more than a week early.

COVID cases

Khaldun will likely provide a deeper dive into Michigan’s current COVID metrics Tuesday, but looking solely at the case rate, we’ve come an incredibly long way.

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

On April 16, MDHHS announced the highest single-day case total of the spring spike: 8,955 new cases. That was also the second-highest single-day total ever for Michigan (Nov. 20 -- 9,779 cases).

How far has Michigan come? On Monday (June 21), the state announced 327 cases for the last three days -- an average of just 109 daily cases.

More than 60% of eligible Michiganders have gotten vaccinated, and with the case rate plummeting, officials decided there’s no reason to wait until July to drop restrictions.


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.