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Michigan lifts COVID-19 restrictions amid improving infection rates

Other restrictions coming to an end in Michigan on Tuesday include those at congregated care and juvenile justice facilities, mandatory testing at state hospitals, guidelines for handling bodily remains and homeless housing. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Other restrictions coming to an end in Michigan on Tuesday include those at congregated care and juvenile justice facilities, mandatory testing at state hospitals, guidelines for handling bodily remains and homeless housing. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

June 22 (UPI) -- Michigan on Tuesday ended its mandatory COVID-19 mask rule and physical distancing requirements, becoming one of the last states to do so.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced last week the state would end most of its remaining pandemic restrictions following improving trends in Michigan.

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"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 a statement when she announced the end of the restrictions.

"Our top priority going forward is utilizing the federal relief funding in a smart, sustainable way as we put Michigan back to work and jump-start our economy."

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Michigan still requires those who are not vaccinated to wear masks indoors in public and the state's labor department still has rules in place for offices. Mandatory testing in prisons, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and for farm workers remain, as well.

"We can't let our guard down as there continue to be several variants of the COVID-19 virus circulating in our state, including the concerning Delta variant," Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the health department's chief medical executive, said in a statement.

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"The COVID-19 vaccine is the most important tool we have to reduce the spread of the virus."

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Other restrictions coming to an end Tuesday include those at congregated care and juvenile justice facilities, mandatory testing at state hospitals, guidelines for handling bodily remains and homeless housing.

According to Michigan's health department, 61% of residents over the age of 16 have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose.

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National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
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