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Fully Vaccinated Michigan Workers Can Go Maskless Under New State Guidelines

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday the easing of workplace restrictions for vaccinated residents

A cook wears a blue paper mask in the kitchen at La Palapa. Christian Gerard

Fully vaccinated Michiganders can work without masks and social distancing requirements, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday.

In a news conference in Grand Rapids, the governor said the new MIOSHA regulations are effective immediately. They also soften cleaning requirements for restaurants and eliminate industry measures. This means, for example, restaurants can reopen common areas, like pool tables and dance floors, she said. However, the state’s restaurants still must have written pandemic preparedness and response plans, and businesses may choose to require customers or staff to mask up.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcements came a day after she apologized for apparently violating state-mandated social distancing guidelines while at an East Lansing bar, where she was photographed sitting maskless with a group of more than six people. Under current state orders, indoor gatherings of groups of more than six are prohibited. In her apology, Whitmer said the violation was accidental.

“Yesterday, I went with friends to a local restaurant. As more people arrived, the tables were pushed together. Because we were all vaccinated, we didn’t stop to think about it. In retrospect, I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize.”

On June 1, indoor capacity limits for restaurants will rise to 50 percent and all outdoor capacity limits will expire. The 11 p.m. curfew on bars and restaurants will also end. On July 1, all COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted. If a business requires masking, customers must comply.

About 55.2 percent of adults in the state have received at least one vaccine dose against COVID, compared to 35.3 percent of Detroiters, as of May 20, 2021.

Michigan reported 1,013 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Saturday and 99 deaths, following a review of medical records.