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Michigan to End Mask Requirements, Capacity Limits for Restaurants and Bars This Week

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says COVID restrictions will end early than planned, but businesses may still require face coverings if they want

A stack of blue surgical face masks set against a white background
Face masks will no longer be required after June 22 but restaurants may still require them, if they choose.
Harry Wedzinga/Shutterstock

Michigan will lift all indoor capacity restrictions at restaurants and bars and end all mask requirements this week, 10 days sooner than planned, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said on Thursday, June 17. Restaurants, bars, and other private businesses may still require masks, social distancing, any safety precautions if they choose.

Beginning Tuesday, June 22, capacity in both indoor and outdoor settings will increase to 100 percent. The current order, which allows restaurants and bars to operate at 50 percent capacity, will expire at the end of the day on Monday, June 21, instead of on July 1 as previously planned.

The move comes 15 months after the governor’s first order mandating masks. COVID-19 infections have dropped to the lowest rate in a year and vaccinations in the state have risen in recent weeks.

“Today is a day that we have all been looking forward to, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and put this pandemic behind us,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the medical experts and health professionals who stood on the front lines to keep us all safe.”

According to the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, 3,000 restaurants in the state have permanently closed and 200,000 workers have been laid off as a result of the pandemic.

Nearly five million Michiganders 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. According to data from the state, half of Michigan residents have been vaccinated. In Detroit, 36.7 percent of residents have received at least one shot, as of Tuesday, June 15.

There have been just 1,516 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state in the last week, down from a month ago when 11,749 cases were reported.

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