LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday announced a plan to tie the lifting of coronavirus restrictions to Michigan’s vaccination rate, setting specific benchmarks that must be reached to return to normal.
As more people get shots, she said, the state will allow office work, relax and ultimately end indoor capacity limits, and lift a health order designed to curb COVID-19. About half of residents ages 16 and older have received at least one dose.
Michigan has become a national hotspot for COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations at a time when more than half the U.S. adult population has been vaccinated and other states have seen the virus diminish substantially.
Under the “MI Vacc to Normal” plan, rules will be eased two weeks after each of four milestones. When 55% of the 16-plus population has one shot, in-person work will be permitted in all business sectors.
At a 60% vaccination rate, capacity at sports stadiums, banquet halls, conference centers and funeral homes will rise to 25% — and 50% at gyms. Restaurants and bars will no longer have an 11 p.m. curfew.
Michigan will lift all indoor capacity limits when 65% have one dose, requiring only social distancing between parties.
At 70%, the state health department will lift its mask and gatherings order and stop imposing broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as vaccine-resistant variants. The agency could delay eased restrictions in regions with a seven-day case rate of more than 250 per million residents.
Whitmer called it a “realistic goal.”
“If we work together, we can get this done,” she said.