USA: Michiganders in one county are fed up with their state’s overly restrictive pandemic mandates, so they’re saying they “identify as fully vaccinated” in order to take advantage of a recent guidance stating inoculated people can stop wearing masks.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance a week and a half ago, stating people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely ditch their masks and stop socially distancing themselves.
As a result, some Luce County residents are fusing two issues: the new CDC guidance as well as the cultural push to embrace whatever gender or sexual expression with which a person chooses to identify.
Kerry Ott, a public information officer for the Luce, Mackinac, Alger, and Schoolcraft health department, told Michigan Radio there are “a lot of people using the phrase, ‘I identify as fully vaccinated,’ and taking their masks off.”
“I’m not kidding,” added Ott. “They’re not vaccinated, but they’re going to take their masks off.”
So far, 35% of Luce County residents are fully vaccinated, while around 40% have had at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna inoculation. There are just over 6,600 people living in the county. Only three have died of COVID-19.
One business owner in Luce County, Raymond Mahaffey, who is vaccinated, said he is concerned the response to the virus has, in some ways, become more problematic than the illness itself.
He said he is confident it will “all work itself out” and is not worried.
“There is no reason [for these restrictions] a year later, with the numbers being so small [here],” Mahaffey argued. “[The restrictions have] been nothing but political. It’s been crazy. And we can’t wait to get it over with.”
As it stands right now, Whitmer’s administration has ordered no more than 15 people from a maximum of three houses meet together indoors. She has mandated they all wear masks through the duration of their time together, unless they are all fully vaccinated.
She has also capped outdoor residential gatherings to a total of 25 people.
Whitmer ordered restaurants can only allow a maximum of six people to eat together and must limit capacity to no more than 50% of total occupancy, or 100 people. In addition, she has placed an 11 p.m. curfew on all bars and restaurants.
Although she plans to begin slowly easing restrictions, Whitmer was caught recently ignoring her own restrictive rules. The governor was caught eating at a restaurant with at least nine other people, none of whom were wearing masks.
Whitmer, who is fully vaccinated, said it was “a mistake” to gather with her friends for dinner.
“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been committed to following public health protocols,” she said Sunday. “Yesterday, I went with friends to a local restaurant. As more people arrived, the tables were pushed together. Because we were all vaccinated, we didn’t stop to think about it.”
“In retrospect,” the Democrat continued, “I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize.”
Ted Goodman, spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, responded to the governor’s actions, stating: “For Gov. Whitmer, it’s rules for thee but not for me.”