Advance Notice: Briefs

Gov. lifting mask mandate for fully vaccinated Michiganders

By: - May 14, 2021 11:05 am

Sign encourage mask wearing during COVID-19, Ann Arbor | Susan J. Demas

As of 9 a.m. Saturday, Michiganders who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to wear face coverings.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is updating its order to align with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest guidance on masks issued Thursday.

The CDC recommended that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

“For more than a year, we’ve been following the best data and science to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Whitmer. “The vast majority of us have trusted the scientists and experts to keep us safe during the pandemic, and it has worked. With millions of Michiganders fully vaccinated, we can now safely and confidently take the next step to get back to normal. The message is clear: vaccines work to protect you and your loved ones. If you have not yet received your vaccine, now is the time to sign up. This pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges of our lifetimes, but we came together as a state to persevere. We have all been working incredibly hard toward getting back to some sense of normalcy, and today’s news makes all of that work worthwhile.”

 Under the updated DHHS Gatherings and Mask Order, Michiganders who are outdoors will no longer need to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. While indoors, fully vaccinated Michiganders will no longer need to wear a mask, but residents who are not vaccinated, or have not completed their vaccinations, must continue to wear a mask or face covering to protect themselves and others. After July 1, the broad indoor mask mandate will expire.

Michigan has a total of 871,569 COVID-19 cases and 18,467 people have died from the virus, with an additional 2,057 cases and 112 deaths since Wednesday.

Michigan has administered 7.9 million vaccines, with 55.6% of Michiganders ages 16 and older having received at least one dose and more than 43% percent of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated.

The state has also administered the vaccine to 927 Michiganders between the ages of 12 to 15 years old, as the CDC this week green lighted usage of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group. About 500,000 children in Michigan are now eligible.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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