On March 23, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-21, which was a “temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.” The Order went into effect on March 24, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., and has been subsequently extended through May 15, 2020. During the duration of the Order, Governor Whitmer has modified it as statewide conditions dictate. Some of its restrictions were relaxed with respect to workers who perform the so called “resumed activities” including maintenance and landscaping. Additionally, the definition of “essential services” was expanded to include moving companies and storage facilities (see our recent article on these resumed activities: “Resumed Activities,” Including Landscaping, Now Permitted Under Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order).
On May 1, 2020, citing a recent statewide decrease in the daily new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-70. Effective May 7, 2020, this new Executive Order further loosens restrictions by expanding the “resumed activities” from maintenance, lawn care, landscaping, moving and storage operations to also include real estate, construction, and outdoor workers.
Of particular interest to community associations and property management companies, as of May 7, 2020, the Order will permit workers in the real-estate industry to return to work under the expanded “resumed activities.” This will include real estate agents, appraisers, brokers, inspectors, surveyors, and registers of deeds. For businesses within the real-estate industry, showings, inspections, appraisals, photography, videography, and final walk-throughs must be performed by appointment only and are limited to no more than four people in attendance at a time. Moreover, in-person open houses are strictly prohibited. Private showings are only permitted for owner-occupied homes, vacant homes, vacant land, commercial property and industrial property.
In addition, the Order will permit business operations to commence for workers in the construction industry, including workers in the building trades such as plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians and similar workers. The Order requires additional health and safety protocols for construction sites:
- Employers must designate a site-specific supervisor who monitors and oversees the implementation of the COVID-19 control strategies listed in the Order. The supervisor must remain on-site at all times during work activities.
- Employers must conduct daily entry screening protocols for workers and visitors entering the construction site. These screening protocols should include a symptom and exposure questionnaire, in addition to temperature screening when possible. If a single designated worksite entry point is not possible, stickers or other indicators should be used to indicate that a worker has received screening before entering the worksite.
- Employers must require face shields or masks when workers cannot consistently maintain social distancing. Instructions must be provided for the distribution of personal protective equipment and designation of on-site locations for disposal of soiled PPE.
- Employers must identify “choke points” and high-risk areas where workers are necessarily required to stand near one another, and employers must control access to these areas in order to maintain social distancing. Examples of choke points include areas such as hallways, hoists, elevators, break areas and water stations.
The Order will also permit workers who typically perform their jobs outside, including, but not limited to, forestry workers, outdoor power equipment technicians, parking enforcement workers, and similar workers to return to work on May 7, 2020.
As before, all of these “resumed activities” will be subject to the enhanced social-distancing rules set forth in the Order. All businesses permitted to allow in-person work must adhere to health and safety guidelines. For example, businesses must provide non-medical grade face coverings to their employees that complete in-person work, ban gatherings of any size that cannot maintain social distancing, limit in-person interactions with clients and customers, adopt protocols to limit sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible, and tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces must be thoroughly and frequently cleaned. Based upon the work being performed, appropriate PPE (gloves, goggles, face shields, or face masks) will be required.
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If you have any questions regarding the resumed activities, please contact one of the experienced attorneys at our firm.