“Vacc to normal”: Whitmer links eased COVID-19 restrictions to vaccination rates in Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Thursday unveiled a reopening plan that links eased COVID-19 restrictions to increased vaccination rates in a state that’s been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus in recent months.

The governor’s initiative, titled “Vacc to Normal,” would gradually loosen restrictions as more residents get their shots. The goal is to get the first vaccine shot to 5.67 million people, about 70 percent of residents 16 and older, while scaling back orders along the way.

So far, slightly more than 4 million residents have gotten their first COVID-19 vaccine shot, and 2.9 million are fully vaccinated, Whitmer said on Thursday.

What’s next: Two weeks after 55 percent of the eligible population, or about 4.5 million residents, has had at least one vaccine shot, the state plans to remove its requirement on businesses to allow remote work, letting workplaces operate in-person.

The state is currently on pace to reach the 55 percent threshold before the end of May.

For the final phase at 70 percent, the state would end requirements for masks or limitations on public or private gatherings.