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 28, 2020. During the duration of the Order, Governor Whitmer has modified its restrictions as statewide conditions have improved. To date, restrictions have been relaxed with respect to workers in the maintenance, landscaping, moving and storage, real estate and construction industries.
On May 7, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order No 2020-77, which provides that businesses, operations, and government agencies that remain open for in-person work must require masks to be worn when workers cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation from other individuals in the workplace. The Order also recommends the use of face shields when workers cannot consistently maintain three feet of separation from other individuals in the workplace.
The Order also permits workers necessary to perform “start-up activities at manufacturing facilities” to immediately return to work and to prepare their manufacturing facilities to follow the detailed “workplace safeguards” that are provided in the Order. Importantly, if the required “workplace safeguards” have been implemented, general manufacturing activities may commence effective at 12:01 a.m. on May 11, 2020.
There are numerous specific requirements that must be satisfied by a manufacturer in order to comply with the “workplace safeguards” detailed in the Order. Among other requirements, manufacturing facilities must:
- Conduct daily entry screening protocols, including symptom questionnaires along with temperature screenings (as soon as no-touch thermometers can be obtained), and strictly control entry into facilities to prevent anyone from bypassing these screenings.
- Suspend all non-essential in-person visits to manufacturing facilities, including the suspension of all tours, develop procedures to minimize personal contact upon delivery of materials to the facility, and stagger worker start times and mealtimes.
- Specifically train all workers regarding COVID-19, its symptoms, how the virus is spread, and how workers should protect themselves from infection by the proper use and disposal of personal protective equipment.
- Frequently and thoroughly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, ensure that hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations are available, discontinue the use of hand dryers, and shut down areas for disinfecting and cleaning if a worker is sent home for displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
As before, all of the resumed activities are still subject to the enhanced social-distancing rules that were previously enacted, and all businesses permitted to allow in-person work are required to adhere to health and safety guidelines.
Restarting Michigan’s manufacturing base, albeit with stringent precautionary safety measures in place, is a significant step in the incremental reopening of Michigan’s economy. Over the past several weeks, we have seen more activities being permitted under the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order, while the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to drop. As this trend continues, expect to see additional restrictions lifted and more businesses restarting operations with enhanced social distancing, required screenings, and limits on the number of persons permitted to be physically present in the same space. Community Associations can likewise expect to see these mitigation efforts become part of their annual meetings and the reopening of various community amenities, such as pools, clubhouses, and other recreational spaces.
If you have any questions regarding the current Executive Order, please contact one of the experienced attorneys at our firm.