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Whitmer: 55% of adults have received at least 1 dose of vaccine

MARQUETTE — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced that 55% of Michiganders have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The announcement marks the first milestone of the “MI Vacc to Normal” plan, which would enable in-person work to resume across all employment sectors on May 24.

“Everyone is eligible to get their safe, effective shots, and it’s on all of us to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect ourselves, our families and our communities,” Whitmer said in a statement. “On May 24, we anticipate allowing a return to in-person work across all sectors, and as more Michiganders get vaccinated, we will continue lifting restrictions to get ‘Vacc to Normal’ safely.”

As of Monday, Michigan had administered 4,455,395 vaccines, moving the state closer to its goal of vaccinating at least 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older as soon as possible. To date, 55% of residents have received their initial dose of the vaccine.

“The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is the most important tool we have to reduce the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, in a statement. “By getting shots in their arms as soon as possible, Michiganders can help end this pandemic as quickly as possible.

“We urge all eligible Michigan residents to make an appointment or locate a walk-in vaccine clinic to get their vaccine as soon as they are able by visiting Vaccinefinder.”

The Vacc to Normal plan uses four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will help Michigan to take a step toward normalcy:

≤ 55% of Michiganders, plus two weeks for full vaccination. This allows in-person work for all sectors of business.

≤ 60% of Michiganders, plus two weeks, which increases indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25%; increases indoor capacity at conference centers, banquet halls and funeral homes to 25%. It also increases capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50% and lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.

≤ 65% of Michiganders, plus two weeks, lifting all indoor percentage capacity and requiring only social distancing between parties. It also further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings.

≤ 70% of Michiganders, plus two weeks; this lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order so the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants.

Alliance responds to benchmark

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance responded to the state reaching the first benchmark in the Vacc to Normal plan.

The alliance represents 16 chambers and economic development organizations and over 7,000 member businesses from across northern Michigan, including the Marquette-based Lake Superior Community Partnership.

The alliance expressed “cautious optimism” and continued its call for a regional reopening plan.

“We have many communities, including those located in northern Michigan, working together and exceeding the first 55% vaccination milestone, and we believe those communities should be rewarded,” said Stacie Bytwork, alliance chairperson and president and CEO of the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. “The quicker we can move to a full reopening of our businesses in any part of our state, the better for all Michiganders.”

The alliance urges everyone who is ready to get vaccinated to find a walk-in clinic or talk with their health providers so northern Michigan and the rest of the state can continue down “the path of economic recovery.”

Vaccination appointments available

Starting Monday, the Marquette County Health Department will be offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments on Mondays and Thursdays at the Marquette County Health Department, located at 184 U.S. 41 East in Negaunee Township.

Monday clinic hours will be 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The available vaccines will be Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Thursday clinic hours will be 12:45 to 4:30 p.m. The available vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson.

To schedule an appointment, call 906-475-7847.

Cedar Motor Inn issued MIOSHA citation

A popular local motel has been issued three COVID-19 citations from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The Cedar Motor Inn, located in Marquette Township, has been cited by MIOSHA for violating three sections of its COVID-19 Emergency Rules. The citations were issued April 1 after an inspection on March 17. The business was fined $500 by MIOSHA for only one of the citations.

The motel violated rules 7-3, 6-1 and 10-1 of MCL 24.248, which are as follows:

≤ 7-3: The employer shall keep everyone on the worksite premises at least 6 feet from one another to the maximum extent possible and to reduce congestion, including using ground markings, signs and physical barriers as appropriate to the worksite.

On March 17, the employer had not installed plexiglass barriers at the guest check-in desk.

≤ 6-1: The employer shall conduct a daily entry self-screening protocol for all employees or contractors entering the workplace, including, at a minimum, a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with, if possible, a temperature screening.

On March 17, the employer had not established a daily entry self-screening protocol.

≤ 10-1: The employer shall provide training to all employees on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.

On March 17, the employer had provided employees with some posted CDC information on risk factors, symptoms, face masking and social distancing. However, employees were not trained on workplace infection control procedures such as conducting a daily entry self-screening to help prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2.

The $500 fine came for violating rule 7-3, and the motel had 15 days to appeal the citations from date of receipt. The business could also enter a Penalty Reduction Agreement within five workdays upon receiving the citations, with the potential of getting its fines reduced by 50%.

Request for comment to the Cedar Motor Inn was not returned Tuesday.

The motel has been in business for over 50 years. Base Hospitality Group assumed ownership of the motel in 2021 after the previous owners sold the building and retired.

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