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Whitmer unveils vaccine benchmarks to end Michigan COVID-19 restrictions

At a 70% vaccination rate, all broad restrictions will end statewide
This details the vaccination rates Michigan needs to hit for COVID-19 restrictions to end.
This details the vaccination rates Michigan needs to hit for COVID-19 restrictions to end.(source: State of Michigan)
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 11:02 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The end of the coronavirus pandemic in Michigan could be in sight.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released the MI Vacc to Normal plan on Thursday, which includes a series of COVID-19 vaccine benchmarks that will allow all remaining restrictions to end. As higher percentages of Michigan adults are fully vaccinated for the illness, more restrictions will end.

Two weeks after 55% receive at least one dose of vaccine, all offices across the state can resume in-person work for everyone.

Two weeks after 60% receive at least one dose of vaccine, capacity restrictions will be reduced:

  • Sports stadiums can allow 25% spectator capacity.
  • Conference centers, banquet halls and funeral homes can allow 25% capacity indoors.
  • Exercise facilities can allow 50% capacity indoors.
  • The 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants to close will end.

Two weeks after 65% receive at least one dose of vaccine, all indoor capacity limits will end.

  • Only social distancing will be required between people indoors.
  • Limits on residential social gatherings will be relaxed.

Two weeks after 70% receive at least one dose of vaccine, all broad mandates and restrictions for COVID-19 in Michigan will be lifted, including the face mask mandate and gathering limits.

After that, Whitmer said the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will only impose broad COVID-19 restrictions if an unanticipated circumstance arises, such as rapid spread of vaccine resistant coronavirus variants.

The release of restrictions could be delayed in any of Michigan’s eight regions if COVID-19 cases exceed an average of 250 per million over seven days at the 60% and 65% steps.

“The MI Vacc to Normal challenge outlines steps we can take to emerge from this pandemic as we hit our vaccination targets together,” Whitmer said. “On our path to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, we can take steps to gradually get back to normal while keeping people safe.”

As of Thursday morning, nearly 36% of Michigan adults were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 while 48.8% had received at least one dose of vaccine. Whitmer believes the state could reach the 55% mark by the end of next week, allowing the in-person work restrictions to end around the middle of May.

Michigan achieved another COVID-19 vaccination record this week by administering 1 million doses in only 11 days.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Protect Michigan Commission are releasing a new series of TV ads this week to encourage people to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The spots feature stories from people detailing why they decided to get vaccinated.

“What we have been observing across our state is that the thing that moves a person to choose to get vaccinated is hearing from someone they know about why it is so important, why they chose to get vaccinated,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. “That means that every person who has not yet chosen to get vaccinated is one conversation away from making that choice.”

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