FERNDALE, Mich. - UPDATE: Late Friday morning, the governor's office released new guidance that lifted Michigan's mask mandate for everyone outside and for vaccinated people indoors. Read the story here.
Great news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has thrown a wrench in Michigan's reopening plan that linked vaccine coverage to lifting restrictions.
Yesterday, the CDC said people who are vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings, with the exception of some health care and transit settings. But according to the Mi Vacc to Normal plan, Michigan wouldn't be lifting its mask mandate until 70% of the population has received at least one shot.
What's a governor to do when federal health officials offer advice that contradicts the well-tailored strategy rolled out by the state health department?
What are the CDC's new rules?
New guidance released by the CDC advised anyone fully vaccinated against COVID-19 does not need to wear a face mask outside or inside.
The only times when face masks should still be worn are on buses, planes, or in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and homeless shelters.
So far, 117 million Americans have already been fully vaccinated.
Those who aren't vaccinated should continue wearing a mask when indoors.
Two weeks ago, the CDC had doubled down on recommendations that fully vaccinated people continue wearing masks in all indoor settings and large crowds outdoors.
What are Michigan's current mask rules?
Generally speaking, Michigan still has one of the country's more stringent mask rules.
Unless someone is at a residential gathering where everyone is fully vaccinated or outside in gatherings of fewer than 100 people, they are advised to continue wearing a mask.
That also includes children aged 2-4 where parents are asked to make a good-faith effort. Kids 5 years or older should wear a mask. However, the Michigan Senate has passed legislation that bans the epidemic rule. Currently, that is not law.
What are Michigan's next steps?
Currently, it's reviewing what to do next. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services declined to elaborate on what exactly that means or what steps it could take in the near future.
In a statement, MDHHS said, "CDC issued guidance today that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing except where required by federal, state, local, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
"MDHHS is reviewing these newly released guidelines."
It was an extremely busy week for disease and health experts tasked with guiding the country out of the pandemic. They greenlighted the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents 12 and older. They got caught being overly cautious about outdoor settings where less than 1% of infections occurred during the pandemic.
And now they're lifting mask rules for vaccinated people.
For some, the advice may be encouraging news but it's not enough to influence behavior yet.
"We still feel comfortable wearing the mask even though we've been vaccinated because not everybody is going to follow those guidelines or are going to use "I'm vaccinated" as an excuse to take it off even if they haven't been," said one Metro Detroiter on Thursday.
According to the state's dashboard, 55.6% of the state has gotten at least one shot. That was enough to trigger the state's first benchmark in two weeks when it lifts restrictions on in-office workplaces. But since then the number of people getting their first shot has dropped sharply, making Michigan's vaccine march much slower.
Local governments are still permitted to pass their own local mask ordinances.