Gov. Whitmer Revises Stay-at-Home Order to Expand Permitted Business Activity, Outlines Reopening Criteria

Whitmer_reopens_MichiganOn May 7th, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended Michigan’s stay-at-home executive order through May 28th, 2020, outlined a six-phase plan for reopening businesses and activities in the state, and relaxed several restrictions on manufacturing.

MI Safe Start Plan

According to Gov. Whitmer, Michigan is currently in the third of the six phases outlined in her MI Safe Start Plan. In Phase 3, “Flattening,” COVID-19 case growth is gradually declining. People should still practice social distancing and use face coverings, and gatherings remain prohibited. However, as discussed below, certain types of lower-risk businesses like construction, manufacturing, real estate, and outdoor work may resume operations so long as business owners put strict safety protocols in place.

Executive Order 2020-77

Although the new order generally continues the measures set forth in the prior executive order, there are several notable changes that relate to the expansion of permitted economic activity. Among other things, Executive Order 2020-77, provides new exceptions to the suspension of in-person government activities and allows potential buyers, sellers, and agents to leave their homes to view a real-estate listing by appointment.

Additionally, the order broadens the pool of workers who can perform resumed activities. Specifically, the following people can now get back to work:

  • Workers for moving or storage operations;
  • Workers who perform “work that is traditionally and primarily performed outdoors, including but not limited to forestry workers, outdoor power equipment technicians, parking enforcement workers, and outdoor workers at places of outdoor recreation;”
  • Construction workers, including plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians;
  • Real estate workers including agents, appraisers, brokers, inspectors, surveyors, and registers of deeds subject to certain provisions;
  • Workers necessary to train, credential, and license first responders and health care workers;
  • Workers necessary to perform start-up activities at manufacturing facilities;
  • Workers “at suppliers, distribution centers, or service providers whose in-person presence is necessary to enable, support, or facilitate another business’s or operation’s resumed activities.”

In addition to the foregoing, the order allows manufacturing businesses to restart operations on May 11th, subject to the specific workplace safety protocols described in the order. Employers should also note that the order directs all Michigan businesses to require that employees wear masks be if they cannot maintain six feet of separation, and to “consider” face shields when workers cannot keep three feet of separation.

Employers should seek counsel and carefully review the Executive Order before making any determinations about how and when to resume operations.

Call Kreis Enderle With Questions About COVID-19 and Resuming Your Business Operations

We know this is an unprecedented time for business owners. Kreis Enderle remains steadfastly committed to providing guidance, counsel, and advocacy to help our clients weather the storm.

If you have questions regarding the latest Executive Order or any other aspects of how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting your business, please contact the Business Law Practice Group at Kreis Enderle today.

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