LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– On Friday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is updating the Gatherings and Mask Order to align with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on face coverings.
The new order will take effect on Saturday, May 15 at 9AM.
“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 Governor Gretchen 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.”
We’ve trusted scientists and experts to keep us safe during the pandemic, and it’s worked. With millions of Michiganders fully vaccinated, we can now safely take the next step to get back to normal. Vaccines protect you and your loved ones, if you haven’t already, sign up today. pic.twitter.com/zjXoKeSQDW— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) May 14, 2021
On Thursday, the CDC released updated guidance recommending “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,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “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 updated MDHHS 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
- 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.
Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth today released the following statement on the governor’s changes to the state mask mandate:
“A few weeks ago, Michigan finally rejected the old, failed path of one-size-fits-all mandates and restrictions that took away people’s jobs, schools and critical services. We encouraged personal responsibility and common-sense safety measures to overcome the recent spike in COVID cases instead of new restrictions and layoffs. That strategy worked.
“But even after today’s announcement, we are still a few steps behind other states around the country that have trusted their local residents and enjoyed better health outcomes. I encourage the governor to keep going and remove Michigan’s remaining restrictions, allowing everyone to go back to work and return to their normal lives.
“Specifically, moving up this new July 1 deadline would be a great place to start. There is no science that says July 1 is a safer date to stop wearing a mask than any other day; it is just a round number on the calendar. Let’s move it up sooner, embrace the strategy of trust that’s working right now and move Michigan past this pandemic.”Rep. Jason Wentworth, Michigan Speaker of the House
The decision to require masks is now on individual businesses to decide, and the so far those decisions are split. In a Statement on Friday, Meijer said they would continue to require masks for shoppers.
While we are aware of new CDC guidance, many state or local orders in the Meijer footprint remain in effect regarding masks. In order to help ensure the continued health and safety of all its team members and customers, Meijer continues to require face coverings by anyone entering a Meijer store or Meijer Express station at all locations, except where medical conditions prevent them from wearing one.Meijer Media Hotline
Other places like Potter Park Zoo have also announced their stand on the issue:
As of today, our mask policy will be changing. When possible to socially distance from individuals outside of your household, masks will not be required outdoors. We still ask that you wear a mask indoors and when using the restroom. Thank you for your cooperation and support! pic.twitter.com/h3k5bFH8Ii— Potter Park Zoo (@potterparkzoo) May 14, 2021