LANSING — on Thursday, Governor Whitmer announced an early end to all COVID-19 epidemic orders on gatherings and masking. Beginning June 22, capacity in both indoor and outdoor settings will increase to 100 percent and the state will no longer require residents to wear a face mask.
Whitmer had originally announced a plan to lift those restrictions starting July 1. But state officials say they have grown more optimistic by downward trends in cases and hospitalization and increasing vaccination numbers.
Whitmer said cases in Michigan continue to plummet following increased vaccinations. More than 9 million vaccines have been administered as new cases fall to a one-year low.
Nearly 5 million Michiganders ages 16 and older have received their first vaccine dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Half of Michigan residents have completed their vaccination and more than 60 percent have gotten their first shots.
The state says case rates, percent positivity and hospitalizations have all plummeted over the past several weeks. Currently, Michigan is experiencing 24.3 cases per million and has recorded a 1.9 percent positivity rate over the last seven days.
Along with rescinding the state’s “Gatherings and Mask Order”, Whitmer’s administration is also lifting other restrictions and requirement on certain facilities like shelters, juvenile justice facilities and more.
Some orders will remain in effect to protect vulnerable populations in corrections, long-term care and agriculture. Public health measures will continue for reporting requirements and testing to make sure areas where community spread is high are identified, schools are safe and free COVID-19 tests are available.
The state says guidance for keeping children and staff safe in schools will be released next week.
“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. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the medical experts and health professionals who stood on the front lines to keep us all safe. And we are incredibly thankful to all of the essential workers who kept our state moving.
“Thanks to the millions of Michiganders who rolled up their sleeves to get the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, we have been able to make these changes ahead of schedule. Our top priority going forward is utilizing the federal relief funding in a smart, sustainable way as we put Michigan back to work and jumpstart our economy. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that Michigan’s families, small businesses and communities emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before.”