On May 7, 2020, Executive Order 2020-77 (the “Order”) was issued extending the prior Stay Home, Stay Safe Order through May 28, 2020, while loosening certain restrictions preventing the operation of manufacturing businesses. On the same day, the Governor issued the MI Safe Start Plan (the “Plan”), setting forth the plan for reopening Michigan’s economy.
I. The Order
Much of the Order incorporates restrictions set forth in prior Executive Order 2020-70, which was previously analyzed here. The requirements applicable to all employers, such as development of an OSHA compliant COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, have been addressed elsewhere. All employers are advised to review their COVID-19 preparedness and response plan with a Mika Meyers’ labor and employment attorney.
The major change is that the Order permits the resumption of manufacturing businesses in Michigan, subject to stringent additional requirements. The additional requirements include, without limitation, the following:
- Conducting daily entry screening of any individuals entering the facility. The screening must be conducted in a manner that complies with the Order, but also with laws governing the privacy of workers’ health information.
- Assuring physical barriers prevent anyone from entering the workplace at a location other than the designated entry point.
- Suspending all non-essential visits to the workplace.
- Implementation of a training program to train workers about COVID-19 and various changes being implemented in the workplace, such as new rules created by the employer to comply with the Order.
- Reduction of congestion in common spaces, stagger shifts, and alter mealtimes to limit the number of people in the facility and its common areas.
- Limiting sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible.
- Frequently and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
- Ensuring sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations and discontinuing the use of hand dryers.
Manufacturers need to assure all of the foregoing requirements have been met before they resume operations.
II. The Plan
The Plan identifies six phases, which address in very vague terms what the State will require individuals and employers to do to stay safe and what work can be done during each stage of the disease. Additionally, the Plan divides the State into eight regions. The Plan identifies that different regions of the State may be in different phases at different times, meaning restrictions and operations may vary throughout the State.
Most notably, employers need to be aware that each of the phases include certain requirements, such as required safety measures and mitigation activities. According to the Plan, these safety measures and mitigation activities will continue to exist until community spread is not expected to return. Thus, employers should anticipate that actions will need to be taken to limit exposure of their employees and customers to COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. Further, given the uncertainty posed by COVID-19 and the vague nature of the plan, employers and individuals should reasonably expect that restrictions related to COVID-19 will remain in effect for months at a minimum.
As many employers are aware, there are presently multiple lawsuits pending challenging the Governor’s authority to continue to enact and enforce the executive orders related to COVID-19. As a result, a court decision holding that the Governor lacks authority to enact and enforce the present executive orders could alter the effectiveness of the Order and the Plan.