Michigan Ready for ‘Return to Normal’ as State Lifts Many COVID-19 Restrictions

If you’re a Michigander and you’re feeling a sudden sense of freedom it’s because, after more than a year of being trapped by a variety of stay-at-home orders, COVID-19 restrictions and capacity limits indoors and outdoors, you are finally free.

For the most part.

That’s because, as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced last week, as of Tuesday morning, most of the existing COVID-19 health and safety orders in the state have been lifted, particularly for outdoor activities.

It’s all part of the state’s plan, as Whitmer said, to basically eliminate all orders by July 1.

At a recent outdoor press conference in Midland, Whitmer hailed the changes as something of a “return to normal.”

“For the most part, life will be back to normal,” she said. “We can have the kind of independence Day we’re all looking forward to. This is what we have all been working so hard toward, and I am so grateful to every Michigander who continues to go above and beyond to keep themselves, their family, and our communities safe. Thanks to them, we can take these final steps toward a return to the normalcy and build our economy back stronger than ever.”

 Here’s a rundown on the changes that went into effect Tuesday morning:

Gathering restrictions
The state has lifted capacity limits for venues like stadiums, concert sites and other outdoor venues. The Detroit Tigers, for instance, are planning on opening to full capacity when they return from the road for a home game June 8.

DTE Energy Music Theater is starting its concert season with an appearance by Chicago July 25, and Little Caesar’s Arena is hosting the WWE for a live event Aug. 1.

There are also no limits on the number of people who can gather – indoors or outdoors – at a private residence. According to the state, no one need wear a mask outdoors; those who aren’t vaccinated are still required to wear a mask indoors.

Indoor public gatherings
The state raised the capacity for indoor facilities to 50% of capacity. The 11 p.m. curfew and the requirement to place outdoor dining tables six feet apart are also gone.

Also as of Tuesday, the rules against more than six people at a table in restaurants is eliminated.

The rules don’t include places of worship, but does point out that penalties aren’t going to be handed out – to the venue or the worshipper —  for any religious worship.

The decision whether businesses can require masks for everyone who enters the premises, regardless of vaccination status, is up to the business.

Sports guidance
Fully vaccinated student-athletes no longer have to follow state-issued guidance, and no one participating in outdoors sports needs to wear a mask.

Athletes who aren’t vaccinated still need to wear a mask while playing indoors, unless administrators have said it isn’t safe. 

Masks are still required at indoor games for coaches, parents and other adults who are not vaccinated.