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Whitmer unveils plan for final stages of reopening state tied to vaccination rates

Currently, 48.8% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with 35.9% of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated.

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the “MI Vacc to Normal” plan Thursday, which she said will set Michigan on a pathway towards normality.

Earlier this year, Whitmer shared her goal of getting 70% of Michiganders ages 16 years and older vaccinated. To reach this goal, the MI Vacc to Normal plan lays out four vaccination-based milestones. And while the number of vaccinated Michiganders hasn’t reached 70% yet, the governor said we are moving in the right direction.

“The MI Vacc to Normal challenge outlines steps we can take to emerge from this pandemic as we hit our vaccination targets together,” said Whitmer. “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.”

In a news conference Thursday, Whitmer said the first milestone could be hit within the next seven to 10 days, triggering the first of planned re-engagements two weeks after.

Since April 9, the number of daily cases in Michigan has dropped from 649.9 cases per million to 439.3 cases per million, the percent of positive tests has declined from 18.3% to 13.2%, and the number hospitalizations has fallen from 3,780 to 3,520.

RELATED: Michigan became hotspot as COVID-19 variants rose and vigilance fell

The state also recently reached another vaccination milestone in record time, administering more than six million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the latest one million doses being administered in 11 days.

While the numbers are trending in the right direction, State Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said people need to remain vigilant.

“The safe and effective vaccine is the most important tool we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19” Khaldun said. “By getting shots in their arms as soon as possible, Michiganders can protect themselves, their families and their communities and help end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”

The MI Vacc to Normal plan will use four vaccination-based milestones, using data for Michiganders 16 and older who have received the first dose, to guide future steps required to get back to normal:

55% of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks

  • Allows in-person work for all sectors of business.

60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks

  • Increases indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25%.
  • Increases indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes to 25%.
  • Increases capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50%.
  • Lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.

65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks

  • Lifts all indoor % capacity limits, requiring only social distancing between parties.
  • Further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings.

70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks

  • Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order such that MDHHS will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants.

As of Thursday, Michigan has administered 6,657,997 vaccines. Currently, 48.8% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with 35.9% of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated.

“We can end this virus on our terms by following the protocols we are putting forward, encouraging everyone in your life to do the same, and ensuring that everyone eligible to receive a vaccine gets one,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.

“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. That means that every person who has not yet chosen to get vaccinated is one conversation away from making that choice. We can make that happen for them and for all of us. The MI Vacc to Normal challenge is a great reminder that we’re all on one team, working towards ending COVID-19.”

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