FERNDALE - The first day of June brings a slew of long-awaited changes to Michigan's coronavirus restrictions after more than a year of being in place.
A plummetting rate of new infections over the last seven weeks has seen the state record some of its fewest daily cases over the past nine months.
Originally tied to the state's vaccine coverage, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pivoted last week when her administration announced the health department would be lifting many business and venue rules today, and even more next month.
As of Tuesday, both indoor and outdoor sites will see reductions in the rules mandating how many people can be admitted.
Restaurants rules relaxed
Since the start of the pandemic, restaurants have been among the obvious places to find proof of the pandemic.
People populating fewer available tables and chairs and contract tracing for anyone who does visit a diner or bar.
Some of those rules are lifted as of Tuesday when capacity limits on restaurants and bars will be raised to 50%. They were at 25%.
The curfews for these sites will also return to their original rule of 2 a.m. - meaning businesses can now remain open three hours longer than permitted for much of the past year.
New workplace guidance
Among the benchmarks that Michigan did reach during its original MI Vacc to Normal plan was its 55% milestone, which meant workplaces could allow employees doing remote work to return to the office.
As of Tuesday, businesses will no longer mandate vaccinated employees to wear masks.
This rule change is contingent on businesses maintaining policies that still enforce face coverings for those that are not yet fully vaccinated.
The change came amid an agreement struck between Whitmer and Republican lawmakers with regards to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules.
Outdoor capacity limits lifted
There are now no longer rules governing capacity limits for outdoor venues like professional sports games hosted by the Detroit Tigers.
That also goes for concert venues like the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, which plans to start having musical acts continue performing later this summer.
More changes to come
A broad mask mandate rule change is expected to come July 1, Whitmer said during her press conference in late May.
That rule was originally tied to achieving 70% coverage of vaccine protection. Currently, that rate sites at around 58.6%, according to the state health website.
COVID's status in Michigan
Of the 49 deaths that were announced Saturday that were linked to COVID-19, 48 of them were identified through a vital record review. That means only one more person died after getting infected.
That's encouraging news for the state which has now recorded some of its lowest infection rates of the year. Over the last seven weeks, test positivity has also fallen to 6.6%, down from the near 20% positivity rate that had alarmed health leaders months ago.
Boosts to vaccine coverage have slowed to a crawl, however, an indication that Michigan may have reached its initial ceiling of citizens willing to get the vaccine. Studies show those that who were infected or have gotten the shot have at least nine months of immunity, if not more.
However, wading through the hybridized form of immunity taking place in the state may make figuring out where the state lacks herd protection may become more difficult.