LANSING, Mich. – During his COVID briefing, Gov. Gretchen whitmer revealed the new schedule Michigan will follow to fully reopen, spoke about restaurant rules, and announced mask policy changes.
LILY: Governor Whitmer outlines Michigan’s new timetable to lift COVID rules, bring life ‘back to normal’
Here are our takeaways from the May 20, 2021 briefing:
Whitmer announced Thursday that Michigan was adjusting its mask policy in accordance with new guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
âLast Thursday, the CDC released new guidelines on masks, based on the strength of vaccines to prevent infections and spread among those vaccinated,â Whitmer said.
The guidelines say vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or socially move away indoors or outdoors, with exceptions for certain medical spaces.
âWe have adjusted our mask policy to match the CDC’s recommendation,â Whitmer said. “So now in Michigan, fully immunized people no longer need to wear a mask outside or inside unless their job or business requires it.”
Whitmer said that when the CDC changed its recommendations, it forced his administration to go back to the drawing board in terms of the MI Vacc To Normal plan.
âWe went back to the drawing board,â Whitmer said. âOur plan originally had four stages, each tied to a percentage of Michiganders receiving the first hit, plus two weeks.â
Michigan has reached the first milestone – 55% of residents aged 16 and over with at least one vaccine – May 10, meaning all employees could return to work in person before May 24.
âNext Monday we will have a lot more details to share on the MIOSHA rules for COVID-19 workplace safety,â Whitmer said.
Based on the new mask indications, Michigan only has two more steps to return to normal, Whitmer said.
On June 1, all external capacity limits will be lifted.
“We will maintain our mask rule, as already announced, but if not, lift all mitigation measures on outdoor gatherings, and will only keep a 50% capacity limit on indoor establishments,” Whitmer said. . “This means that an indoor social gathering like a wedding or funeral or a conference or graduation party will be allowed to resume at 50% capacity until June.”
In June, people who are not yet fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks when indoors, Whitmer said.
MDHHS will officially release the updated order on Monday, she said.
On July 1, Michigan will take the final step of its reopening by lifting the general order of masks and gatherings and will no longer impose broad mitigation measures during the pandemic. Companies and workplaces have the right to demand masks beyond this date.
âUnless, of course, unforeseen circumstances arise,â Whitmer said. âWe don’t expect that to happen. We consider this to be the last moment of these types of orders. “
There could be one or more targeted orders in place to protect vulnerable residents, the governor said.
âBut for the most part, life will be back to normal,â Whitmer said.
Whitmer has confirmed that the 11pm curfew currently on restaurants and bars will also be dropped, although it is not clear whether this comes as part of the June 1 or July 1 reopenings.
âWhat does this mean for curfews in restaurants?â Whitmer was asked.
âCurfews are also being lifted,â Whitmer said. âWhat we do know is that when the CDC released this new rule, they are confident that science confirms that if you are vaccinated you can safely go without a mask anywhere.
âSo June 1, then July 1 – those are the two stages. We reduced the Vacc To Normal (plan) because it became very clear that it was important for us to give people safe dates and the confidence that we can do it safely. This is why we have reconfigured the plan. “
Michigan administered nearly 7.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to more than 4.6 million residents aged 16 and older on Thursday, Whitmer said.
More than 57% of the eligible population received at least one dose of the vaccine, she said.
More than 60% of adults in the country have received their first vaccine, and almost half of them are fully immunized.
âThe way to put this pandemic behind us is for everyone to get vaccinated,â Whitmer said. âThe vaccine is the best way to protect you, your family and the most vulnerable among us from COVID-19.â
She said more than 160 million Americans have received their vaccines, in total.
The rate at which Michiganders receive the COVID vaccine is slowing, and now that the MI Vacc To Normal plan no longer encourages people to get vaccinated, Michigan’s original goal of vaccinating 70% of people 16 and older could be in danger.
âHopefully we get to 70%,â Whitmer said. “The more people who get vaccinated, the better it is for all of us.”
Whitmer said vaccines are always important because the virus can continue to mutate and at some point there could be a mutation that vaccines are not as effective against. It would therefore be important to protect as many people as possible against serious infection.
She said modelers told her administration that at that time vaccine supply would eclipse demand, and that’s what happened.
“That’s why getting people’s questions answered, meeting people where they are – these are essential parts for us that increase the number of people who get vaccinated,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer was asked about the state’s decision to change milestones for the state’s reopening of immunization targets at difficult dates, and if that was a science-based decision.
She said it had a lot to do with what the CDC discovered before updating its recommendations.
âThe CDC’s change was based on their most recent understanding of science,â Whitmer said. âSo when they enacted this it wasn’t just confusing for the Michiganders – I’ve talked to enough of my colleagues across the country, on both sides of the aisle, and everyone had to act quickly. to get some clarity and make the state’s rules sing on the same page as the CDC guidelines. This is precisely what we are doing.
She said the CDC conducted many Michigan policies during the pandemic because these experts are immersed in the studies.
âWe’ve been following the CDC, for the most part,â Whitmer said. âWhen they came up with this new policy recommendation, we wanted to make sure the people of Michigan were clear. But to be sure, the best way to stay safe is to get the vaccine. “
The Pfizer vaccine was recently approved for use in children aged 12 to 15 years. Whitmer said tens of thousands of children in this age group have already received their first dose.
Children of Metro Detroit in this age group have started to receive their vaccines during the past week. Several received the first dose at Ascension Hospital in Southfield.
âI encourage all parents of children in this age group to talk to their doctors about this vaccine,â Whitmer said.
The governor said many people still have questions about the vaccine or want to wait and see what happens. But she encouraged these residents or parents to talk to their doctors about the importance of getting vaccinated.
Cases and test positivity have declined for five straight weeks, according to Whitmer. Hospitalizations have declined for three consecutive weeks, she said.
âOur COVID measurements are trending downward in Michigan and, of course, across the country,â Whitmer said.
Dr. Joneigh khaldun, the MDHHS medical director, did not attend the briefing. It typically provides more in-depth COVID metrics.
Whitmer spoke of the declining unemployment rate in Michigan, saying it had fallen to 4.9%.
âIt’s more than a point below the national average,â Whitmer said. âOver the past year, unemployment in Michigan has fallen by almost 80%.â
She said Michigan created 968,000 jobs in the past year, but there was still work to be done.
âWe are not yet at our pre-pandemic level, and our economic recovery is going well, but we need to do and continue to do a lot more to invest in our families, small businesses and communities to help them survive. succeed, âsaid Whitmer mentioned.
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