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Whitmer announces Michigan reopening

The Hill logo The Hill 6/17/2021 Joseph Choi
a woman talking on a cell phone: Whitmer announces Michigan reopening © Getty Images Whitmer announces Michigan reopening

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Thursday announced that all COVID-19 restrictions in the state would end Tuesday.

In a press release, Whitmer pointed to decreased positivity rates and continued vaccination efforts as justification for reopening.

The governor said that both indoor and outdoor spaces would be allowed to return to 100 percent capacity, and residents would no longer be required by the state to wear face masks. According to the release, the Wolverine State has recorded a 1.9 percent positivity rate over the past seven days.

"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 the release.

"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," Whiter added. "And we are incredibly thankful to all of the essential workers who kept our state moving. Thanks to the millions of Michiganders who rolled up their sleeves to get the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, we have been able to make these changes ahead of schedule."

Other orders that will be rescinded include mandatory testing and entry restrictions for juvenile justice facilities; mandatory testing for Michigan Department of Health staff members; and providing safe housing for "unstable individuals" and the homeless.

According to the Michigan government's vaccine dashboard, more than 4.7 million eligible adults in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for about 55 percent of residents.

Michigan has reported nearly 1 million COVID-19 cases and more than 20,000 related deaths since the outbreak began in the U.S.

The reopening could be a boon for Whitmer, who became a target of far-right extremists and GOP lawmakers in her state during the pandemic due to executive actions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

In October, the FBI announced that it had a foiled a plan by militia groups to kidnap Whitmer and potentially kill her in an attempt to overturn the state government.

The men involved in the plot were reportedly incensed by restrictions that Whitmer had enacted in order to mitigate the spread of disease during the COVID-19 pandemic, which at the time had been worsening across the country.

About a month after the kidnapping plot had been stopped, GOP state lawmakers in Michigan announced that they sought to impeach Whitmer, with state Rep. Matt Maddock (R) claiming she had "crossed the line" in enacting multiple COVID-19 restrictions.

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