(The Center Square) – Almost 14 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer laid out a plan to lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
Part of that plan includes ensuring enough adult Michiganders receive a first vaccine dose.
But will it reach the goal, and, if so, how long will it take?
Thus far, about 49.6% of Michiganders have completed at least one dose or just above 4 million of 8 million residents ages 16 and older. The state must reach 55%, plus two weeks for the Whitmer administration to allow in-person work for all business sectors statewide.
When the state hits 60% (4.8 million) of Michiganders getting one dose, plus two weeks, the following is unlocked:
- Increased indoor sports stadium capacity indoor to 25%.
- Increased indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes to 25% (up from a 25-person capacity)
- Increased capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50%, up from 30%.
- 11 p.m. curfew on restaurants and bars is lifted
Once the state reaches 65% of Michiganders (5.2 million), plus two weeks, the state says it will lift all indoor capacity limits. Social distancing will still be required between parties. Residential social gatherings will also be relaxed.
If the state reaches its final goal of 70% of Michiganders (5.6 million) having received one vaccine, plus two weeks, the state says it will lift the gathering and facemask mandate. It may reinstate that order for “unanticipated circumstances” such as a vaccine-resistant variant.
It’s hard to predict future human behavior, but since the week ending Feb. 27, the state has injected between 205,000 and 393,000 first doses per week. If that trend continues, the state could reach the final goal of 70% of Michiganders 16 and older vaccinated, or an additional 1.6 million first injections in five or six weeks, plus two weeks for complete immunity.
Michigan will soon reach a tipping point where vaccine supply exceeds demand. Some officials are incentivizing COVID-19 vaccines, following the idea that the incentive will save lives and kickstart an economic recovery via tax revenue that will exceed the incentive’s cost.
In Detroit, the city is paying $50 per dose for those who bring a Detroiter to get vaccinated.
Rep. Ann Bollin, R-Brighton Twp., said she was grateful for the clear plan back to normalcy.
“Michigan families finally have a clear and tangible reopening plan that’s based on benchmarks we can use to hold the governor accountable – and for that I am grateful,” Bollin said in a statement. “This is a key step I’ve been pushing for this past year while fighting against the heavy-handed and ineffective restrictions the governor has been implementing based on arbitrary and nonscientific arguments. Now, we must all hold her accountable and continue pushing for more benchmarks to reopen sooner.”
On Friday, Whitmer joined Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Wisconsin Gov.Tony Evers, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz in a video encouraging residents to get vaccinated.