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Michigan Governor Relaxes Stay-Home Order in Northern Michigan, Addresses Workplace Safeguards

May 19, 2020

On May 18, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed executive orders 2020-91 and 2020-92, revising the state's Stay Home, Stay Safe Order and advancing the process to resume in-person work and activities that were temporarily suspended under the previous orders. EO 2020-91 requires a number of safeguards that employers must follow for all businesses and operations that are permitted to require their employees to leave their homes for work. These safeguards are in addition to any requirements imposed by local governments.

Many of these safeguards were previously addressed in the prior versions of the Stay Home, Stay Safe Orders, but some are new. For the first time, the EO (2020-91) also states that these standards will be applied to “all businesses across the state” and “any failure to abide by the rules will also constitute a failure to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards within the meaning of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, MCL 408.1011.”

What’s New in the Stay Home Order?

EO 2020-92 incorporates most of the prior version of the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order (EO 2020-77), but also groups Michigan’s counties into eight regions for the purpose of gradually reopening additional in-person work and activities. 

Reopening Zones

Starting on May 22, 2020, the order permits the reopening of retail stores, restaurants and bars (with limited seating only) in the following counties: Region 6 (Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, and Emmet), and Region 8 (Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Iron, Baraga, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, and Chippewa). Individuals in the counties listed above are allowed to perform work in an office setting if that work is not capable of being performed remotely, and attend social gatherings of up to 10 people. EO 2020-92 also incorporates and replaces a previous EO 2020-90, which allowed workers necessary to conduct research activities in a laboratory setting to continue to perform in-person work. 

Requirements For All Businesses That Are Permitted To Require In-Person Work

Under EO 2020-91, all employers that are permitted to require their employees to leave their homes for work under EO 2020-92 (including businesses that employ critical infrastructure workers) must, at a minimum:

EO 2020-91 also contains industry-specific COVID-19 related rules, in addition to the requirements above, for businesses that primarily perform work outdoors; construction businesses; manufacturing facilities; research laboratories (excluding those that perform diagnostic testing); retail stores that are open for in-store sales; offices; and restaurants and bars. For restaurants and bars, EO 2020-91 expressly permits local governments to impose further restrictions.

If you have questions about EOs 2020-91 and 2020-92, including additional requirements for the categories of businesses permitted to perform in-person work mentioned above, please contact your Miller Canfield attorney or any of the authors of this alert.

This information is based on the facts and guidance available at the time of publication, and may be subject to change.