General News/Mar 26, 2020

“Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order Closes Certain Michigan Businesses

On March 23, 2020 Governor Whitmer announced executive order 2020-21 (the “Order”) which temporarily closes certain businesses in Michigan. The Order is scheduled to lapse at midnight on April 13, 2020.

What business activities are not prohibited by the Order?

The Order generally prohibits all in-person business activity but exempts certain critical infrastructure workers. “Critical infrastructure workers” are all workers listed in this guidance from the Director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which includes certain workers in the following private industries: healthcare, public safety, food and agriculture, energy, water and wastewater, transportation and logistics, public works, communications and information technology, critical manufacturing, hazardous materials, financial services, chemical supply chains, and the defense industrial base.

In addition, the following persons are considered critical infrastructure workers:

  1. Childcare workers and individuals, whether licensed or not, caring for children or dependents, but only to the extent necessary to serve the children or dependents of other critical infrastructure workers.
  2. Suppliers, distribution centers, or service providers designated by another critical infrastructure business as necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of its critical infrastructure workers.
    1. Such designated suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers may also designate other suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers whose operation is necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of their critical infrastructure workers.
  3. Insurance industry workers, but only to the extent that remote work is not possible.
  4. Workers and volunteers that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for indigent or disabled individuals or individuals who need assistance as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.
  5. Workers who perform critical labor union functions for critical infrastructure workers.

If my business conducts any critical infrastructure functions, which employees may continue in-person activities?

Businesses must determine which of its employees are critical infrastructure workers and designate them as such in writing (provided that designations may be made orally until March 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.). Only these designated employees may continue in-person activities. Any of the following workers may continue in-person activities without designation, however:

  1. healthcare and public health workers.
  2. Workers who perform necessary government activities, as described in section 6 of the Order.
  3. Workers and volunteers exempt from the Order under number 4 above.

If my business conducts critical infrastructure functions, what additional health measures must I follow at my facilities?

Businesses must adopt social distancing practices for any continuing in-person activities. The Order specifically requires the following measures:

  1. Limiting in-person workers to no more than strictly necessary to perform critical infrastructure functions.
  2. Working remotely whenever possible.
  3. Keeping workers and customers at least six feet apart whenever possible.
  4. Cleaning and disinfecting the premises to limit individuals’ exposure to COVID-19.
  5. Adopting cleaning and disinfecting protocols to follow if a COVID-19 case is discovered on the premises.
  6. Prohibiting workers from entering the premises if they have respiratory symptoms or were in contact with a person who is known or suspected to have COVID-19.
  7. Any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

What if I have other questions about the Order?

Michigan has provided limited guidance regarding the applicability of the Order here. In addition, the experienced attorneys at Gielow, Groom, Terpstra & McEvoy in Muskegon are familiar with the provisions of Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, and stand ready to answer any further questions you may have.

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