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Michigan Gov. Gretchen. Whitmer (D) announced here “Vacc to Normal” initiative last week, which is conspicuously missing a return to normal.

She said the plan will help Michigan “gradually get back to normal as we hit our vaccination targets,” and attached an images of the incentives for Michiganders to get vaccinated.

“Today, I announced the #MIVaccToNormalChallenge, a pathway to gradually get back to normal as we hit our vaccination targets and push toward our goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older. Please, sign up for your vaccine appointment today. Let’s get it done.”

— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) April 29, 2021

According to the plan, if 60 percent of state gets vaccinated, Whitmer will increase the capacity of sports stadiums to 25 percent, increase the capacity of conference centers, banquet halls, and funeral homes to 25 percent, increase the capacity of gyms and other exercise venues to 50 percent, and end curfews.

If the state gets to a 65 percent level of vaccination, Whitmer says she will end capacity limitations, but still require social distancing. But social distancing inherently limits capacity, especially in places like sports stadiums. She also promised to relax social gathering rules at private residences.

If the state reaches a 70 percent vaccination level, Whitmer promised to lift the mask rule, but implement a “potential partial mask rule,” and only promised to stop enforcing mask mandates when the state decides that hospitals are not in danger of being overwhelmed with patients.

The plan does not mention when the state plans to return to pre-pandemic normals, like ending mask mandates and social distancing rules permanently.

Some states, like Florida and Texas, have already returned to pre-pandemic normals. Those states have fewer COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations than Michigan.

Still, Whitmer is sticking to her guns.

“On our path to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, we can take steps to gradually get back to normal while keeping people safe,” she said in a press release. “If you haven’t already, I encourage you to rise to the challenge and be a part of the solution so we can continue our economic recovery and have the summer we all crave.“

“We can end this virus on our terms by following the protocols we are putting forward, encouraging everyone in your life to do the same, and ensuring that everyone eligible to receive a vaccine gets one,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D) added in the release.  “What we have been observing across our state is that the thing that moves a person to choose to get vaccinated is hearing from someone they know about why it is so important, why they chose to get vaccinated. That means that every person who has not yet chosen to get vaccinated is one conversation away from making that choice. We can make that happen for them and for all of us. The MI Vacc to Normal challenge is a great reminder that we’re all on one team, working towards ending COVID-19.”

– – –

Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by University of Michigan’s Ford School CC 2.0.

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Tags: covid 19 covid 19 vaccination gov gretchen whitmer d lt gov garlin gilchrist d vacc to normal increase the capacity to get vaccinated social distancing gretchen whitmer get vaccinated sports stadiums michiganders when the state mask mandates if the state promised

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Pelosi condemns GOP lawmaker for "sick" comments downplaying Capitol assault

Washington — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday ripped Republican Congressman Andrew Clyde of Georgia for downplaying the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, calling his comments describing the insurrectionists as behaving like they were on a typical Capitol tour "sick" and "quite appalling."

"It was beyond denial. It fell into the range of sick," Pelosi told reporters during her weekly press conference. "And that's what we have to deal with when we are saying it's urgent for us to secure the Capitol. 'Why? It was just a normal tourist day.' We have to strengthen our police force. 'Why? It was just a normal tourist day,' and we have to establish a commission for January 6. 'Why? It was just a normal tourist day.'"

Clyde's comment came during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday about the Trump administration's preparations for and response to the January 6 attack. Speaking about the footage of the assault that aired on television, the Georgia Republican said viewers may have thought it was a "normal tourist visit" being shown if they didn't know it was from January 6.

"There was no insurrection, and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bald-faced lie," Clyde said. "Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walk through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures."

Pelosi said the remarks made during the hearing by Clyde and other Republicans were "quite appalling."

"It's no use my even telling you about it. You have to see it for yourself," she said, reiterating Clyde's description of the mob's conduct as that of a "normal" visit. "Really? Really? Well, I don't know on a normal day around here when people are threatening to hang the vice president of the United States or shoot the speaker in the forehead or disrupt and injure so many police officers. I don't consider that normal." 

Assault On The U.S. Capitol More Pelosi condemns GOP lawmaker for downplaying Capitol assault "Normal tourist visit": Some Republicans downplay January 6 riot What we know about the "unprecedented" Capitol riot arrests 440 arrested since Capitol riot but key suspects remain Capitol Police lacked resources amid threat surge, report finds More

Pelosi said Clyde's comments demonstrate the challenges Democrats have encountered when attempting to work with Republicans on a $2 billion supplemental funding bill to harden the Capitol complex and the parameters of a commission studying the January 6 insurrection.

Still, the speaker said that she is "optimistic" Republicans and Democrats can reach consensus on the January 6 commission. Democrats conceded on the panel's subpoena power and membership, as it will be evenly divided between five Republicans and five Democrats, Pelosi said.

But she said Democrats are unwilling to budge on the scope of the investigation, which Republicans want to broaden to focus on the Black Lives Matter movement, antifa and protests against racial injustice last summer. 

"We cannot concede on the scope," Pelosi said. "And that was sort of the last stumbling block."

If neither side can reach agreement on a January 6 commission, the speaker said the House can always pursue a congressional investigation where Democrats, as the majority, will have full subpoena power, though she said it is her hope "that we don't have to go that route."

While Pelosi stressed the need for a January 6 commission to be bipartisan to ensure public confidence, she indicated Democrats are prepared to move forward with the supplemental spending bill for Capitol security without GOP support. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro could file the measure as soon as Thursday, she said, with a floor vote taking place next week.

"There are those who want to put this, that and the other thing on there," she said. "And we think it just has to be focused on its purpose, which is January 6."

Pelosi said she received a letter from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asking her to pause action on the Capitol security funding until the end of the year, a suggestion she rebuffed as a hardening of the complex is "overdue."

"The end of the year? A year from the insurrection," she said. "We can't do that. We will go forward with what was recommended."

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