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New MDHHS mask guidelines bring Upper Michigan a step closer to pre-pandemic life

Effective Saturday, mask requirements are lifted for Michigan residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 5:07 PM EDT
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UPPER MICHIGAN (WLUC) - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is following the CDC’s recent recommendation, saying that vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask.

Effective at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 15, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is lifting mask requirements for Michigan residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The outdoor mask order is lifted for everyone. For those who haven’t been vaccinated, the indoor mask order will remain in place until July 1.

However, some businesses are still requiring all patrons to mask up, such as Target and Walmart. At this time, there is no order mandating businesses to ask for proof of vaccination. While it may be easy for someone who isn’t vaccinated to say they are, the LMAS District Health Department encourages everyone to be honest and wear a mask until they have received their shots.

“We’re bringing the numbers back down, and we don’t want to lose traction on that and see our numbers go back up again,” said Kerry Ott, public information officer for the department.

In Marquette, places like the U.P. Children’s Museum will also continue to require everyone to mask up, as the majority of its guests are too young to get the vaccine.

Northern Michigan University responded to the news by saying students and faculty can go without masks, as long as they have reported their vaccination to the campus health center.

“We’ve built a system called the bridge where you can upload your vaccination card,” said NMU spokesperson Derek Hall. “It is reviewed by our health department, then that file is deleted, and basically you just have a check on your record. We’re encouraging faculty, staff, students, get vaccinated.”

Dr. Bob Lorinser, medical director for the Marquette County Health Department, says the benefit of not wearing a mask might encourage more people to register for the vaccine.

“I think it’s a very nice incentive, though I don’t think it was created that way,” he said. “I think it was created based on the science, allowing the people that have been vaccinated to move on.”

For millions in Michigan, it’s a step closer to pre-pandemic life.

Read more about the mask requirement changes here.

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