Live stream: Gov. Whitmer holds news briefing as Michigan lifts COVID restrictions

FILE -This July 9, 2020 file photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor shows Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as she addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool) (Uncredited, Michigan Governors Office)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a news conference Tuesday afternoon as the state lifts nearly all COVID-19 restrictions after more than 15 months.

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The briefing highlighted the state’s official reopening and announced a plan to boost well-paying jobs. The governor was joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun.

Related: Michigan Gov. Whitmer wants $300 weekly bonus for returning laid-off workers, new hires

Whitmer’s appearance comes as the state of Michigan on Tuesday lifts all indoor and outdoor capacity limits and a broad mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status.

Some COVID-19 restrictions are still active for long-term care facilities and virus testing as of Tuesday.

Whitmer and Gilchrist hinted last week that restrictions could loosen earlier than originally planned.

“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.”

The timeline for lifting coronavirus restrictions in Michigan has been moved up more than once.

In April, Whitmer announced the “Vacc to Normal” reopening plan that was tied to the state’s COVID vaccination percentages. Less than a month later, her administration announced a new, consolidated reopening plan tied only to two dates: June 1 and July 1.

On June 1, outdoor capacity limits were completely lifted and indoor capacity limits were raised to 50%. Fully vaccinated people were also allowed to ditch their face mask in most indoor and outdoor situations, unless otherwise required by employers or individual businesses, as also suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Monday, June 21, about 61.2% of Michigan residents 16 and older have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Click here to see vaccination rates for some Michigan counties.

Related: Michigan businesses face hiring dilemma as some COVID restrictions expire June 22

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.