Advocacy News – May 11, 2021
Governor Whitmer announced on Tuesday evening that 55 percent of Michiganders had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement marks the first milestone of the Governor’s “Vacc to Normal” plan, thereby allowing in-person work to resume across all sectors on May 24.
Despite the positive news, which many job providers have been waiting over 14 months to hear, questions remain as to how the “Vacc to Normal” plans jive with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (MIOSHA) proposed permanent rules on COVID-19 workplace safety. Those permanent rules, if promulgated, would require employers to have a policy promoting remote work for all employees. It remains unclear as to whether MIOSHA will continue forward with the rules as written or move to amend the rules either before or after the scheduled public hearing on May 26.
As reported last week, the Governor’s proposed “Vacc to Normal” plan moves away from metrics previously used to determine restrictions, including positivity rates, hospitalization rates and deaths. The new plan relies solely on four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will trigger a lifting of the various COVID-19 restrictions:
Step 1: 55 percent of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks
· Allows in-person work for all sectors of business.
Step 2: 60 percent of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks
· Increases indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25 percent.
· Increases indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes to 25 percent.
· Increases capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50 percent
· Lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.
Step 3: 65 percent of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks
· Lifts all indoor percentage capacity limits, requiring only social distancing between parties.
· Further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings.
Step 4: 70 percent of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks
· Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order such that MDHHS will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants.
While the announcement that Michigan has hit step one is a step in the right direction, we still have a long ways to go towards hitting the remaining vaccination milestones of 60, 65 and 70 percent. We continue to have serious questions as to whether these goals, particularly the 65 and 70 percent goals, are within reach and what happens if these goals remain unmet.
Please contact Wendy Block with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.