Following Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s recent executive order on May 19, Michigan is starting to open back up. As businesses look to reopen after almost three months of the shutdown, there are a number of new requirements to keep in mind.
Businesses should introduce daily self-screening protocols for their employees, including the use of a questionnaire. Sanitation and social distancing practices should continue. This includes providing all employees with non-medical-grade face coverings and making cleaning and sanitizing supplies available to all employees.
Further, businesses need to designate at least one COVID-19 control supervisor. A COVID-19 supervisor must remain on-site at all times when employees are on-site. Supervisors have the responsibility of implementing, monitoring and reporting on the COVID-19 preparedness and response plans formed by the business.
All employees will need training that covers, at a bare minimum: workplace infection-control practices; the use of personal protective equipment; reporting on unsafe work conditions; and the process for notifying employers of any symptoms of COVID-19, suspected symptoms, or confirmed diagnosis.
Business-related travel should be limited to essential trips only. Employers should encourage employees to use hand sanitizer when using public transportation.
Businesses need to adopt reasonable infection-control measures in light of the work performed on-site and the region’s rate of infection. Protocols must be determined in case the facility needs to be disinfected in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace. Plans should be formed in advance so that all employees know the process for dealing with confirmed infection, including protocols for sending employees home and temperature closures to allow for deep cleaning.
When an employee receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, within the first 24 hours businesses should notify the local public health department and any coworkers, contractors, or suppliers who may have come into contact with that person.
Employers are required to maintain records of their COVID-19 trainings, daily self-screenings, and any notifications to local public health departments, employees, contractors, or suppliers as detailed above.
Specific businesses have further specialized requirements along with complying with the above.
Businesses whose work is primarily performed outdoors also have restrictions. The order prohibits gatherings of any size in which people cannot maintain a six-foot distance. In-person interactions with clients and patrons must be limited to the maximum extent possible. Employers need to provide and require the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, or other face coverings appropriate to the activity being performed. Businesses need to adopt policies to limit the sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible and oversee frequent, thorough disinfection of tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces.
All manufacturers must train employees on how COVID-19 is transmitted. This includes the distance the virus can travel in the air and the amount of time it remains viable, both in the air and on surfaces. Manufacturers must also train employees in the proper use of personal protective equipment.
Retail stores opening for in-store shopping must create signs or pamphlets informing customers of the changes to store practices and explain what precautions the store is taking to prevent the spread of infection. This includes signage at the entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering. The in-store space should be designed to encourage employees and customers to maintain a six-foot distance, and physical barriers should be installed at checkout as appropriate. Stores need to establish enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures and train all employees on cleaning procedures, as well as how to manage symptomatic customers who enter the store. Employers will need to notify employees if an asymptomatic individual has entered the store, including customers or suppliers. Staffing should be limited to the minimum number necessary for operation.
Offices that reopen must assign dedicated entry points for employees and provide visual indicators of appropriate spacing at all anticipated points of congestion. When possible, congestion should be mitigated through policies such as staggered start times. Face coverings should be required within shared spaces, and workspaces should be distanced and staggered as much as possible. High-touch surfaces should be constantly disinfected with sanitizing equipment available to employees, and public water fountains should be turned off. All non-essential visits should be suspended.
Restaurants and bars that reopen need to limit capacity to 50% of their normal seating and require six feet of separation between parties. Customers should be provided with pamphlets informing them of these new practices and should be asked to wait in their cars for their table to be called rather than congregating inside. All self-serve food and drink options should be closed. Hosts and servers should be required to wear masks in the dining area. Employees should be trained on what to do if an asymptomatic customer enters.
Any challenge to penalties imposed by a department enforcing the regulations set forth in the first order establishing reopening requirements will proceed through the same administrative review process as any challenge to a penalty imposed by the department or agency for a violation of its rules. Further, any business or operation that violates a rule set forth in the Order has “failed to provide a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to an employee” within the meaning of Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, MCL 408.1011.
In regard to the Order reopening Regions 6 and 8, any willful violation of the Order is a misdemeanor offense pursuant to the Emergency Powers of Governor, MCL 10.33, and Emergency Management Act, MCL 30.405.