Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a “Vacc to Normal” plan on Thursday, which outlines four vaccination-based milestones — using data for Michiganders 16 years or older who’ve received their first dose — to guide future steps required to get back to “normal.” This is good news for not only the state economy but also for local businesses.
“Since the vaccine rollout months ago, we knew immunizations could provide a path out of this pandemic and now, with these goals announced, we have a plan in place to continue moving the economy forward and into recovery,” said Brandy Miller, president/CEO of the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber. “We hope our community will embrace this path forward and help to see our businesses and our lives return to ‘normal’ by seeking out a vaccine if they are able.”
The “Vacc to Normal Plan”:
Step One: two weeks after 4.5 million Michiganders, or 55% of those eligible, have received their first shot, MDHHS will lift the requirement for employers to require remote work when feasible.
Step Two: two weeks after 4.9 million Michiganders, or 60% of those eligible, have received their first shot MDHHS will:
- Increase indoor capacity at sports stadiums, conference centers, banquet halls and funeral homes to 25%
- Increase capacity limits at gyms to 50%
- Lift the curfew on bars and restaurants
Step Three: two weeks after 5.3 million Michiganders, or 65% of those eligible, have received their first shot MDHHS will:
- Lift all indoor capacity limits, only requiring social distancing between parties
- Relax the limits on residential social gatherings
Step Four: two weeks after 5.67 million Michiganders, or 70% of those eligible, have received their first shot MDHHS will:
- Lift the gatherings and face masks order and no longer impose mitigation measures of that kind unless the virus threatens to overwhelm the medical system or some other unanticipated circumstance arises
Currently, 48.8 percent of Michiganders, or approximately four million people, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Governor said at her press conference that, if the state keeps its current vaccination rate, it could achieve the 55 percent threshold by the end of May, meaning the remote work requirement could be lifted at that time.
Local Employer Encourages, Incentivizes Vaccinations
Mason County saw very early demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, which more recently has waned. Officials say convenience is a factor in the recent plateau in demand for the vaccine.
Business owners are anxious to return to a state of normalcy with production, distribution and purchasing, so the economy can gain an upward trajectory. Reducing illness and the number of work absences due to COVID-19 will be key to this, they realize, so they are incentivizing immunization in the local area, as well as taking steps to make it convenient for employees to access the vaccine.
Floracraft, a Ludington-based producer of foam products for the craft industry, offered a vaccine clinic this week for the convenience of its employees and families and gave $50 to workers who received the vaccine.
“We firmly believe in the importance of everyone getting the vaccine in order to eradicate COVID-19 from our community and beyond,” FloraCraft President/CEO Eric Erwin said. “Hosting this clinic for our employees and their families allows us to remove barriers for our team and signals our commitment to doing our part as we all attempt to return to normal.
“The reason we’ve been so successful is because of our unmatched ability to work together while caring for one another,” Erwin said. “The challenges of this pandemic have made us stronger than ever, and now it’s time to take our successes to the next level by getting vaccinated.”