Michigan’s ‘Vacc to Normal’ Challenge Promises COVID Rules Despite Vaccinations

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer


Michigan Gov. Gretchen. Whitmer (D) announced here “Vacc to Normal” initiative last week, which is conspicuously missing a return to normal.

She said the plan will help Michigan “gradually get back to normal as we hit our vaccination targets,” and attached an images of the incentives for Michiganders to get vaccinated.

According to the plan, if 60 percent of state gets vaccinated, Whitmer will increase the capacity of sports stadiums to 25 percent, increase the capacity of conference centers, banquet halls, and funeral homes to 25 percent, increase the capacity of gyms and other exercise venues to 50 percent, and end curfews.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectIf the state gets to a 65 percent level of vaccination, Whitmer says she will end capacity limitations, but still require social distancing. But social distancing inherently limits capacity, especially in places like sports stadiums. She also promised to relax social gathering rules at private residences.

If the state reaches a 70 percent vaccination level, Whitmer promised to lift the mask rule, but implement a “potential partial mask rule,” and only promised to stop enforcing mask mandates when the state decides that hospitals are not in danger of being overwhelmed with patients.

The plan does not mention when the state plans to return to pre-pandemic normals, like ending mask mandates and social distancing rules permanently.

Some states, like Florida and Texas, have already returned to pre-pandemic normals. Those states have fewer COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations than Michigan.

Still, Whitmer is sticking to her guns.

“On our path to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, we can take steps to gradually get back to normal while keeping people safe,” she said in a press release. “If you haven’t already, I encourage you to rise to the challenge and be a part of the solution so we can continue our economic recovery and have the summer we all crave.

“We can end this virus on our terms by following the protocols we are putting forward, encouraging everyone in your life to do the same, and ensuring that everyone eligible to receive a vaccine gets one,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D) added in the release.  “What we have been observing across our state is that the thing that moves a person to choose to get vaccinated is hearing from someone they know about why it is so important, why they chose to get vaccinated. That means that every person who has not yet chosen to get vaccinated is one conversation away from making that choice. We can make that happen for them and for all of us. The MI Vacc to Normal challenge is a great reminder that we’re all on one team, working towards ending COVID-19.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by University of Michigan’s Ford School CC 2.0.

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