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Mask is no longer required at small outdoor weddings, graduation parties or other similar events or while playing some sports for young people, according to a new order for the health department, which is set to take effect on Thursday.

The move is the latest move from the Department of Health and Human Services and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as the state’s COVID-19 trends remain poor but continue to move in a safer direction.

“Michiganders’ commitment to receiving the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine allows us to move towards returning to normal,” said Department Director Elizabeth Hertel.

“The vaccines work. This means that once Michiganders are fully vaccinated, they do not have to adhere to as many health guidelines because of the protection that the vaccine provides against the spread of the virus. ”

More: Michigan hits new milestone for COVID-19 vaccine: 50% of residents have at least one dose

More: Gov. Whitmer reveals plan to tie Michigan vaccination rates to ease COVID-19 rules

Under the new order, no one needs to wear a mask outdoors unless they are at a gathering of 100 or more people. It also extends to youth sports – while contact masks are still required, they are not required during training or games for non-contact outdoor sports.

“For example, softball and baseball players will be required to wear a mask during the excavation, but not when playing or playing first base,” reads a press release from the health department.

Testing for youth athletes is still required unless these students are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. Anyone who is fully vaccinated and who does not feel ill does not have to wear a mask at any housing meetings, indoors or outdoors.

“Getting your vaccine is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, State Medical Chief.

“Vaccines give you the freedom and peace of mind to do more, but we still have work to do to achieve our goal of vaccinating at least 70% of residents aged 16 and over.”

More: Whitmer’s plan to ease COVID-19 regulations leaves greater regulatory compromise

More: COVID-19 Vaccination Rates in Michigan: Top 5 Counties and Top 5 Worst

Despite the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths falling in recent weeks, Michigan is still the worst in the country in all three polls. Earlier, Whitmer urged residents to stop eating indoors at restaurants along with a two-week break on youth athletics and personal school classes in an attempt to stop the current COVID-19 wave.

But Hertel and Whitmer have resisted drawing up stricter rules despite calls by national health leaders to do so.

The new order is part of a broader government effort to tie up vaccination rates to ease pandemic regulations.

Last week, Whitmer announced a plan that fixed recurring restrictions when a certain number of Michiganders received their first dose of vaccine. From Tuesday, the state was approx. 374,000 shots during the first benchmark, with 55% of those 16 and older receiving their first dose.

Just over 39% of all Michiganders 16 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the state.

Contact Dave Boucher: dboucher@freepress.com or 313-938-4591. Follow him on Twitter @ Dave_Boucher1.

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