Could Whitmer lift COVID-19 restrictions sooner than expected?

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rolled out her latest plan for easing COVID-19 restrictions, her administration set July 1 as the target for “getting back to normal” — that is, lifting the state health department’s broad Gatherings and Face Mask order.

But could that date be moved up?

The expectation has been that on July 1, no one would be required to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status and restaurants would stop operating under capacity limits. But with the virus in retreat, Whitmer hinted Wednesday during a news conference in Grand Rapids that it might happen sooner.

Asked by News 8 political reporter Rick Albin if there was any way the about two-week wait could become shorter, the governor stopped just short of confirming anything.

“I think it’s very possible, Rick. Each of these changes requires a lot of preparation and a lot of legal work and so we are assessing. We had a modeling call, which we have every Tuesday night, we had that last night (and it showed) the numbers are good, really good,” Whitmer said. “Of course, we wanted to be at 70% (of the population vaccinated) … Our work is still continuing but we’re trying to meet people where they are. That’s not unique to Michigan. It’s happening all across the country. But we’ve got all these factors going into that and I would anticipate, whether it’s MIOSHA or the next step in returning to normal, I would probably have something talk about in the coming days and make some announcements soon.”

There has been no official word from her or her office yet on precisely when such an announcement may come.

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