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Michigan to re-open based on COVID-19 vaccination based metrics

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: April 29, 2021

UPDATE: Effective 9 a.m. Saturday, May 15, 2021, the mask mandate is lifted for fully vaccinated residents at most indoor and outdoor settings following CDC Guidance. Masks are still required to be worn indoors by Michigan residents who are not fully vaccinated. Under the MDHHS Gatherings and Mask Order, no masks are required outdoors regardless of vaccination status. The broad indoor mask mandate will expire after July 1, 2021.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced metrics for reopening Michigan based on the percentage of residents ages 16 and up receiving their first vaccination doses.

The ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan will ease COVID-19 related restrictions in the state in four stages:

  1.  55% of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks:
    Allows in-person work for all sectors of business.
  2. 60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks:
    Increases sports stadiums indoor capacity to 25%.
    Increases conference centers, banquet halls and funeral homes indoor capacity to 25%.
    Increases exercise facilities and gyms capacity to 50%.
    Lifts curfew on restaurants and bars.
  3. 65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks:
    Lifts all indoor capacity percentage limits except for social distancing between parties.
    Further relaxes residential social gatherings limits.
  4. 70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks:
    Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order so Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants.

Just over 4 million (48.8 percent) of the state’s approximately 8 million residents ages 16 and up have received their first vaccine dose and 35.9% are fully vaccinated as of April 29.  However, if new cases in a Michigan Economic Recovery Committee (MERC) region remain greater than 250 daily per million when implementing steps 2 through 3, MDHHS may delay implementation in that MERC region.

Whitmer said she considered input from the state’s legislative leaders in formulating the re-opening metrics. “We may be one of the first to put together a plan of this nature,” she said.

In the past two weeks, new infections have declined 30% to 13.2 percent positive cases. Two weeks ago, the 7-day average in Michigan had spiked to the highest it’s been in the last 15 months, Whitmer said. She thanked residents who complied with her request to pause in-person learning at high schools, youth sports and indoor dining for two weeks.

MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun warned there is still broad community spread with 19 percent of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients and a positivity rate still four times as high as it was at the beginning of February.  MDHHS updated its guidance for safer K-12 schools graduation celebrations and Whitmer said the Gatherings and Face Mask Order would be revised per new CDC guidelines for outdoor gatherings.

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