Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will lift the mask requirement for fully vaccinated residents.
On Friday, she announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is updating its gatherings and mask order to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on face coverings. The new order takes effect at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 15.
“For more than a year, we’ve been following the best data and science to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Whitmer said. “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.”
On Thursday, the CDC announced “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.”
“It’s critical that eligible Michigan residents who have not yet been vaccinated schedule their appointments as soon as they can,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and MDHHS chief deputy director for health. “Getting shots in arms is the best way to end the pandemic. If you have not yet been vaccinated, it is important to continue to mask up to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
“The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and all the hard work that Michiganders have done allows us to take a big step in returning to normal,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “This updated order keeps Michigan in alignment with CDC guidance that is based on the knowledge of health experts. I urge our residents to continue to be respectful of each other as we move forward.”
Under the new order, residents who are outside will no longer need to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. While inside, fully vaccinated residents will no longer need to wear a mask, but unvaccinated residents must continue to wear a face covering. After July 1, the broad indoor mask mandate will expire.
Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, said MIOSHA and the MDHHS need to get on the same page.
“MIOSHA needs to update their workplace safety rules that contradict with the new MDHHS order and CDC guidelines," Ellis said. “The MLBA hopes the workplace rules are changed soon as it would be a step in the right direction as we move toward an open society once again.”
As of May 14, the state has administered 7,875,785 vaccines. According to the CDC, 55.6 percent of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with more than 43 percent of Michiganders being fully vaccinated.