Michigan's extended Stay Home Order adds new limitations

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On April 9, 2020, Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-42,  which supersedes her prior “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order and implements new requirements for residents and businesses in the state through April 30, 2020. While the new order reaffirms many of the primary measures in the initial order, it goes beyond that to add restrictions that limit gatherings and travel and that require all workers who are not necessary to sustain or protect life or minimum basic operations to stay home. 

Continued stay in place requirements

The new order extends the existing stay at home/shelter-in-place rules through April 30, 2020. Subject to limited exceptions, the new order prohibits “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household.”

New limits on travel and activity

Significant for many Michigan residents, travel between two in-state residences is prohibited as of April 11, 2020.   

While allowing individuals to obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves, their family or household members, their pets, and their vehicles, the order states that individuals must secure those services or supplies via delivery to the maximum extent possible. Further, individuals “should limit, to the maximum extent that is safe and feasible, the number of household members who leave the home for any errands.”

New limits on in-person work

Executive Order 2020-42 states that it “must be construed broadly to prohibit in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life.” The order prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.   

  • Critical infrastructure workers: Workers who are necessary to “sustain or protect life” are “critical infrastructure workers” who may continue to work in-person. However, even for businesses with critical infrastructure workers, the order notes that “in-person activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life must be suspended until normal operations resume.” For purposes of the order, critical infrastructure workers are those workers described by the Director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in his guidance of March 19, 2020, on the COVID-19 response (available here). The new executive order expressly does not adopt any subsequent guidance document released by that agency.
  • Minimum basic operations: Workers who are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations are those whose in-person presence is strictly necessary to allow the business or operation to maintain the value of inventory and equipment, care for animals, ensure security, process transactions (including payroll and employee benefits), or facilitate the ability of other workers to work remotely. Businesses must continue to designate workers who meet those criteria.
  • Precautions for in-person work: Any in-person work must be performed consistent with the social distancing practices and other mitigation practices to protect workers. Every business that continues in-person work must develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with recommendations in the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. Such plan must be available at company headquarters or the worksite. Further, businesses that are permitted to remain open must adopt policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.    

Issuing the new order, Gov. Whitmer noted that it “doesn’t mean everything will go back to normal on May 1...But based on the data we have right now, this is the appropriate window for an extension. It will take time to safely and responsibly re-open the economy, which is why we will continue to provide critical unemployment support and assistance to our small businesses during this challenging time. We will get through this if we all continue to do our part.” 

McDonald Hopkins has a Rapid Response Team of professionals dedicated to assisting businesses experiencing financial distress as result of the coronavirus. Click here for a list of articles focused on providing legal and business solutions to the impact of the coronavirus on your business

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