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May 18 2020

State Begins Partial Reopening of Certain Regions and Provides Further Rules for Operators

By: Michael J. Huff

On May 18, 2020, the Governor of Michigan issued two new executive orders which have the effect of partially reopening businesses in certain regions of the State and continuing to define the manner in which employers who are operating must manage their operations to keep employees and customers safe.

Executive Order 2020-92

Executive Order 2020-92 formally defines the regions previously identified in the MI Safe Start Plan and provides that regions 6 and 8, comprised of the Greater Traverse City area and the Upper Peninsula, will experience relaxation of certain restrictions set forth by prior stay-at-home orders. 

To a significant extent, the restrictions of prior Executive Order 2020-77 remain in effect – workers in the State are ordered to stay home except to the extent they are critical infrastructure workers, are necessary to perform minimum basic operations, or they are part of a resumed activity, such as construction or manufacturing work, to the extent permitted.  However, beginning this Friday, May 22, workers in regions 6 and 8 who perform retail activities, who work at restaurants and bars, or who work in an office setting where work cannot be performed remotely are included under the definition of “resumed activity.”  This order has the effect of reopening retail establishments and dining establishments in the Traverse City region and Upper Peninsula to the extent there is not a local order prohibiting operation. 

Additionally, pursuant to Executive Order 2020-92, individuals are now permitted to leave their home or place of residence to go to a restaurant, a retail establishment, or to engage in a social gathering of up to 10 people.

The resumed activities under Executive Order 2020-92, as well as all other businesses and operations, remain subject to restrictions set forth in Executive Order 2020-91.

Executive Order 2020-91

Most employers are familiar with the continuing requirement set forth in Executive Order 2020-91 that they develop an OSHA-compliant COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.  Such a plan must now be made available to employees, labor unions and customers by June 1, 2020, or within two weeks of resumption of in-person activities, whichever is later.  Additionally, all employers must provide training to employees regarding matters related to COVID-19, including workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, actions employees must take regarding any symptoms of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.  Additionally, training must include appropriate cleaning procedures, such as training cashiers to clean between customers, and how to manage a symptomatic customer who enters a store.  Any employer preparing to reopen should be preparing its training plan at this time.

Many of the restrictions applicable to retail establishments are already known because of the essential retail operations which have continued during COVID-19.  Restaurants and bars which are reopening pursuant to the Executive Orders must also adhere to the following procedures:

  1. Limit capacity to 50% of normal seating;
  2. Require 6 feet of separation between different parties;
  3. Create communications material, such as signs and pamphlets, to inform customers of new practices implemented to mitigate COVID-19;
  4. Close waiting areas and ask customers to wait in their cars;
  5. Close self-serve food and drink options;
  6. Provide physical guides, such as signs and tape on the floor, to keep customers 6 feet apart;
  7. Post signs instructing customers not to enter if they are or recently have been sick;
  8. Post signs instructing customers to wear face coverings until they reach their table;
  9. Require hosts and servers to wear face coverings;
  10. Require kitchen employees to follow FDA guidelines, including wearing masks and gloves;
  11. Limit shared items for customers, such as condiments and menus;
  12. Provide training for employees regarding appropriate use of PPE, food safety health procedures (such as cleaning shared condiments between customers) and how to manage symptomatic customers;
  13. Notify employees if the employer learns someone with a case of COVID-19 has visited the establishment;
  14. Close immediately if an employee exhibits symptoms of COVID-19;
  15. Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, at places where maintaining 6 feet of distance is difficult, such as host stands; and
  16. Limit the number of employees in shared spaces.

The Governor has indicated additional guidance will be provided this week.  For questions, concerns, or guidance regarding Executive Orders 2020-91 or 2020-92, contact Nikole Canute, Scott Dwyer, or Nate Wolf.