Michigan returns to normalcy  

Here’s what to expect in a fully reopened state  

Photo of Shepard Price

Michigan lifted all indoor capacity restrictions and its mask mandate. The move comes 10 days earlier than expected as vaccines and falling COVID-19 infection rates take effect in the state.

This brings an end to the mandatory 50% occupancy limits inside indoor places like restaurants and theaters and events like weddings and funerals. Michigan follows states like California, New York and Illinois in fully reopening.

In Michigan, 56% of residents over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated, and 62% have received at least one shot. The state still aims for 70% vaccination rate, but a plan to only reopen upon reaching that mark was scrapped May 20.

Michigan announced some orders will remain in effect in order to protect higher-risk populations in corrections, long-term care and agricultural settings. There will also be an announcement regarding schools and keeping children and staff safe later this week, with some children remaining unvaccinated.

The state still recommends practicing social distancing when appropriate and will keep free COVID-19 testing available for those experiencing symptoms. MDHHS will continue to provide recommendations to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in higher-risk settings and places where vulnerable populations or populations with large numbers of individuals are not yet fully vaccinated, state officials said.

With some virus orders remaining in place, here’s what to expect in the reopened state.

Individual businesses are still allowed to require masks, but the state no longer requires individuals to wear a mask to enter places like grocery stores, gyms and bars and restaurants.

“The hospitality industry received transcendent news today that will finally move it past 463 days of closure, capacity restrictions and elevated regulatory scrutiny that forced more than one in six Michigan restaurants to close their doors for good,” Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association President & CEO Justin Winslow said in a statement in response to the news last week. “The challenges ahead remain daunting for many, but this industry is resilient, adaptive and ready to meet this newfound opportunity head on.”

Mandatory testing at hospitals and juvenile justice facilities will be lifted. Someone with the responsibility of handling a dead body no longer must complete arrangements for the final disposition of its remains within 48 hours. During the pandemic, the state ordered expediency in getting in contact with a family member of the body.

With the Delta variant entering the United States and becoming a concern, COVID-19 is still a concern for those who remain unvaccinated. Taking necessary precautions like social distancing, hand washing and mask-wearing is still recommended, but not required.

For those who have received both doses of the vaccine, the vaccine has proven effective against the Delta variant and that should not be a concern.

Things like concerts, sports games and indoor events will become more and more crowded in the coming weeks and months as things return to a sense of normalcy. If you feel the side effects of COVID-19, Michigan still recommends getting tested.

Recreational centers including gyms, restaurants and other indoor businesses are those most affected by the lifting of requirements. Everything in the state is now open to the general public at 100% capacity at the state level. There are some local restrictions that could remain in place, however.