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Michigan mask mandate mostly lifted for everyone fully vaccinated against COVID-19

The statewide mask mandate for everyone will almost entirely end on July 1
Michigan is loosening its face mask mandate and planning to end it entirely this summer.
Michigan is loosening its face mask mandate and planning to end it entirely this summer.
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 11:56 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Everyone who is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in Michigan can wear their masks much less often.

Masks will required in limited situations indoors in Michigan for everyone regardless of vaccine status on July 1.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services lifted its mask mandate for all Michiganders who are fully vaccinated, which comes two weeks after receiving the final dose of vaccine. The change takes effect at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Part of the mask mandate continues for everyone who is not fully vaccinated for COVID-19. They still are required to wear a face covering at any indoor gathering, but masks no longer are required for anyone outdoors regardless of vaccine status.

Whitmer said Michigan will do away with the face masks mandate for everyone who is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on July 1. After that, there will be no more statewide mask order.

“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 change in Michigan’s order comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its recommendations for face coverings. The CDC only is recommending masks for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in crowded indoor spaces like public transportation, hospitals and prisons.

“This pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges of our lifetimes, but we came together as a state to persevere,” Whitmer said. “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.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services did not address how businesses are supposed to verify anyone’s COVID-19 vaccine status. The CDC recommendation for masks on in crowded places like public transportation and prisons is continuing and an end date was not announced.

Republican Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth was happy to see the impending end for much of the state mask mandate, but questioned the timing in July.

“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,” he said. “Let’s move it up sooner, embrace the strategy of trust that’s working right now and move Michigan past this pandemic.”

Wentworth also called on Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to let the state get back to normal. He believes the ongoing decline in Michigan’s COVID-19 statistics after Whitmer announced a series of vaccine benchmarks to remove restrictions shows how residents are taking personal responsibility.

“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,” Wentworth said. “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.”

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