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Whitmer’s Decision to End Most COVID-19 Restrictions on July 1 Marks Major Turning Point

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Image credit: State of Michigan

State Capitol Correspondent Rick Pluta calls the decision “an off-ramp for the governor to end this standoff with the Legislature.”

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday that Michigan will fully lift outdoor capacity limits on June 1. And starting July 1, the state will end capacity limits on indoor gatherings. This decision will nullify Whitmer’s “Vacc to Normal” plan, a four-part process that saw COVID-19 restrictions easing at significant vaccination benchmarks. 

It’s an off-ramp for the governor to end this standoff with the Legislature and try and move to the next stage, which is figuring out how to use the COVID emergency funds.” —Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

Previously, Whitmer announced that all restrictions would be lifted once 70% of adult residents have been vaccinated. At this point, the rate of vaccination has dramatically slowed, with only 57% of adults in Michigan having received at least one dose of the vaccine.


Listen: State Capitol Correspondent Rick Pluta talks about reactions to Whitmer’s decision and what it means for her relationships in Lansing.


Guest

Rick Pluta is senior state Capitol correspondent with the Michigan Public Radio Network. He says that the governor’s decision to abandon “Vacc to Normal” was precipitated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He explains, “The CDC basically declared the emergency over. So, the state had to quickly change its plans and lifted the orders in two stages.”

After a year of heavy restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, many health experts are skeptical of the abrupt end to these restrictions. Pluta says, “There are a lot of health care professionals, epidemiologists, who are saying that this is a recipe for disaster.”

Pluta says, by ending restrictions, Whitmer may be extending her hand to the state Legislature. “It’s an off-ramp for the governor to end this standoff with the Legislature and try and move to the next stage, which is figuring out how to use the COVID emergency funds,” he says. “It resets the board to see if, in the next month or so, the Republican leaders and the governor’s office can actually get into a route together and bargain.”

Web post written by Molly Ryan

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