On Thursday morning, Democratic Governor Michelle Whitmer of Michigan rolled out new guidelines for the state to reopen based on vaccination levels in the population.
“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.
“If you haven’t already, I encourage you to rise to the challenge and be a part of the solution, so we can continue our economic recovery and have the summer we all crave.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, Whitmer’s plan includes four steps:
- Two weeks after 4.5 million Michiganders have received their first vaccine dose (55% of the eligible population), the state will lift requirements that employers mandate employees work remotely where feasible.
- Two weeks after 4.9 million Michiganders have received their first vaccine dose (60% of the eligible population), the state will increase indoor capacity for sporting events, conference centers, banquet halls, and other similar facilities to 25%. The state will also increase capacity limits at gyms to 50%, and lift curfews on restaurants and bars.
- Two weeks after 5.3 million Michiganders have received their first vaccine dose (65% of the eligible population), the state will lift all indoor capacity restrictions and relax limits on social gatherings.
- Two weeks after 5.7 million Michiganders have received their first vaccine dose (70% of the eligible population), the state will rescind the health department’s facemask and gathering order and stop issuing similar rules “unless unanticipated circumstances arise.”
The Detroit News reported that for the second and third steps, the governor “said the state health department may delay implementation in a certain region of the state if its seven-day average of new cases is greater than 250 a day per million residents.”
“We believe this is unlikely, but it’s an important safety valve if something unexpected were to happen,” Whitmer said.
When she was asked why she was adjusting her methods after pushing back on connecting reopening to certain measurements in the past, Whitmer reportedly said that the state now has the ability to access a vaccine supply.
“For 11 out of the last 15 months we didn’t have vaccines, and so we couldn’t tie something to a metric that really is the best tool that we have to get back to normal,” she said. “I think you’re going to see this is a creative way of challenging us to rise to this moment and to meet it, and every one of us can play a part in doing that, and it benefits the whole state when we do so.”
Whitmer told the press she doesn’t think Michigan is the first state to connect vaccines to the easing of restrictions. “I think we may be one of the first that really has put together a plan of this nature, and we’re proud of this work,” she said.
Reopening attempts in Michigan have been a tense political issue. Republicans in the state legislature reportedly leveraged federal and state funding in order to push Whitmer and health officials to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the past.
Whitmer has also been criticized for allegedly refusing to follow her own administration’s guidance on avoiding travel.
The Daily Wire reported, “Whitmer was allegedly caught making false statements in a recent interview where she claimed that she was ‘here in town the whole time’ despite having recently traveled to Florida. Whitmer made the claims during a podcast appearance with MIRS News host Kyle Melinn on April 12, a week before news broke that Whitmer had traveled to Florida in March.”
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.