Whitmer Announces Four-Phase Plan to Lift COVID Restrictions


​In a press conference this morning, Governor Whitmer announced a four-phase plan that focuses on a path out of the pandemic. The MI Vacc to Normal plan would effectively lift all restrictions for businesses and the public once 5.67 million Michiganders have received at least their first vaccine. Basing reopening on a single dose of the vaccine is critical, as media outlets have been reporting that a large number of people are not returning for their second dose of the two-shot vaccines. ​

While reaching the required number of vaccinations to enter the first two phases of the reopening plan should happen relatively quickly, the MLBA is not excited by the fact that it will be much harder to reach the last two phases, which provide the greatest benefits for the hospitality industry. Our main concerns are that 65-70% of Michiganders will not get vaccinated and even if they do, it may take a long time to hit those figures. We will continue pushing for answers on how we will move forward if vaccine progression begins to slow. 

​“Phase 2, which will expand operations for large indoor venues, will help those businesses that have had to cancel weddings, fundraisers and events for more than a year,” Ellis said. “While bars and restaurants are looking forward to reaching Phase 4, for a full reopening, we wish more was included for our industry in earlier phases. Currently, surrounding states are following guidelines that we won’t hit until the third phase.”

Currently, 36 percent of eligible persons (age 16+) are fully vaccinated, while 49 percent have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. With the goal of getting 100,000 people vaccinated per day, Michigan would likely reach Phase 1 and 2 of Whitmer’s plan in a few short weeks.

​“Our struggling bars and restaurants have nothing but praise for the public for supporting them in so many different ways over the past year,” Ellis said. “And we encourage those interested in getting vaccinated to do so as soon as possible to help our struggling businesses get around this final corner and on the road to recovery.

”​Phase 1: Two weeks after 4.5 million Michiganders, or 55% of those eligible, have received their first shot, MDHHS:

  • Will lift the requirement for employers to require remote work when feasible.

Phase 2: Two weeks after 4.9 million Michiganders, or 60% of those eligible, have received their first shot MDHHS will: 

  •  Increase indoor capacity at sports stadiums, conference centers, banquet halls, and funeral homes to 25%
  •  Increase capacity limits at gyms to 50%
  •  And lift the curfew on bars and restaurants

Phase 3: Two weeks after 5.3 million Michiganders, or 65% of those eligible, have received their first shot MDHHS will: 

  •  Lift all indoor capacity limits, only requiring social distancing between parties
  •  And relax the limits on residential social gatherings

Phase 4:Two weeks after 5.67 million Michiganders, or 70% of those eligible, have received their first shot MDHHS will: 

  •  Lift the gatherings and face masks order and no longer impose mitigation measures of that kind unless the virus threatens to overwhelm the medical system or some other unanticipated circumstance arises.