Executive Orders also revise workplace safeguards, reopen Detroit casinos

By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued two Executive Orders limiting indoor social gatherings to 10 people and closing bars for indoor service statewide. Workplace safeguards have also been revised and Detroit casinos may reopen at 15 percent capacity.

Beginning July 31, Executive Order 2020-160 limits any indoor gatherings of persons not from same household to 10 throughout the state. Outdoor gatherings remain limited to 100 for all areas except Regions 6 and 8, the Traverse City area and the Upper Peninsula, which is limited to 250 people gathering outdoors.

Bars in every region, including 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn over 70 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages.

“After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and economy,” Whitmer said in a press release. “By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave.”

The order also permits Detroit casinos to reopen Aug. 5 at 15 percent capacity with daily entry screening protocols, including temperature checks. Casinos must also provide social distancing between slot machines and staff must wear masks. Patrons must wear a face covering, except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes.

Executive Order 2020-161 revises workplace safeguards.

Click on the links below for the entire Executive Orders:

The Legislature has approved measures designed to resolve a $2.2 billion hole in the state’s current budget with mainly federal money, $350 million from the Rainy Day Fund, fund shifts, and $483 million in cuts. As COVID-19 reaches the highest level since May, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued her two newest executive orders related to wearing masks. One order requires individuals wear masks in crowded outdoor spaces and that businesses open to the Capital Building Lansing Croppedpublic refuse entry and/or service for people who refuse to wear masks. The other order requires public safety officers wear masks if it doesn't interfere with them doing their job and requires businesses to ask non-mask wearing customers to confirm they are not able to medically tolerate a mask before entry. The Michigan Civil Service Commission adopted a measure requiring state workers, who are union members, to reauthorize membership annually. Gov. Whitmer created a nursing home task force to recommend how COVID-19 patients should be treated in the event of a second wave of the virus. SB 899, passed by the House, would give the medical community broad immunity protection against potential legal suits dealing with COVID-19 treatment. A ballot committee called Unlock Michigan is attempting to repeal a 1945 law that gives the Michigan Governor emergency powers by sending a proposal to the Legislature for a vote before the end of the year. The State Board of Canvassers (SBC) has okayed the petition and summary language for a petition. Meanwhile, a group called Keep Michigan Safe claims the Board of State Canvassars did not provide proper notice of their vote on Unlock Michigan’s petition.

For more details about these and other legislative issues, please click here for the July 2020 Karoub Report.

Businesses must ask medical reason for not wearing masks

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order clarifying mask rules for the state, which include public safety officers being required to wear face coverings unless it seriously interferes with them doing their jobs.

Executive Order 2020-153 also states businesses must ask customers to confirm their medical reason for not wearing a mask. This clarifies her previous mask order, Executive Order 2020-147, which requires individuals wear face coverings inside public places and outdoors in crowded areas where social distancing isn't possible.

Exceptions to the face covering rules include:

  • Children under age five.
  • People who cannot medically tolerate face coverings.
  • People exercising in a way that wearing a mask would interfere with the activity.
  • People eating or drinking while seated in a food service establishment.
  • Voters at a polling place during an election.

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI) introduced legislation to ensure fire fighters who are exposed to toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals at military bases receive the health care they need through the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA).

Military fire fighters exposed to firefighting foam containing PFAS are not currently guaranteed health care to respond to that exposure, which has been linked to cancer and internal organ problems. This legislation would require the VA to cover treatment for fire fighters with health conditions associated with PFAS chemicals exposure.

Click here for the complete press release from Rep. Dan Kildee's office.

In the wake of a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a new Executive Order requiring businesses to refuse entry to individuals not wearing a face covering, with limited exceptions. It also requires masks be worn in crowded outdoor spaces.

Executive Order 2020-147 takes effect on July 13. Willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor carrying a $500 fine. No jail time can be imposed.

“Masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70 percent,” Whitmer said.

The order reiterates masks must be worn in any indoor public places. It adds businesses open to the public are required to post signs at all entrances regarding the legal obligation to wear a mask and must refuse entry and service to those who refuse to wear a face covering.

Masks are also now required outdoors when individuals not from the same household cannot maintain six-foot distance between them. The order requires face coverings when waiting for or riding on public transportation, in a taxi or ridesharing vehicle, and inside a private car as hired transportation.

Some exceptions include: children younger than five; those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering; and people eating or drinking while seated inside a food service establishment. Those engaging in religious worship are not subject to this order, however, according to a press release from the Governor’s office, CDC guidelines strongly encourage wearing face coverings during religious services.

The pandemic continues to be the impetus behind much of the state's legislation so far this year. Republican Capital Building Lansing Croppedlawmakers announced a $1 billion plan which would put local school districts in charge of their own coronavirus safety protocols, academic calendars, learning plans and extracurricular activities. The “Return to Learn Plan” sends federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to local school districts so officials can craft their own plans amid COVID-19 concerns. The Legislature passed an $880 million supplemental bill, which was sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, allowing the state to hire 500 additional Unemployment Insurance Agency employees and provide childcare and rental assistance, PPE and COVID-19 testing and more. The Legislature also passed a ‘Cocktails to go’ bill for Michigan bars, which was sent to Gov. Whitmer, who is expected to sign the bill. Whitmer extended the State of Emergency, lifted the Stay at Home Order and issued a ‘Play Ball’ Executive Order for professional sports without fans in the stands. Senate Bill 956 would separate COVID-19 nursing home patients, sending them to a dedicated facility in one of Michigan’s eight health care regions. Regular COVID-19 testing of Michigan nursing home residents has been mandated by the state. A ballot committee called Unlock Michigan is seeking to repeal a 1945 law giving the Governor emergency powers. 

For more details about these and other legislative issues, please click here for the June 2020 Karoub Report.

MAFF Legal Counsel Bryan Davis shared an update with members regarding Governor Gretchen Whitmer's latest Executive Order (EO) on workplace exposure to COVID-19:

To All,

Governor Whitmer has issued Executive Order 2020-128: Clarifying WDCA Eligibility for Workplace Exposure to COVID-19 (Rescission of Executive Order 2020-125). Please note that this EO has suspended the Emergency Rules which had been issued by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

Notably, "[f]or purposes of the WDCA, and subject to rebuttal by specific facts to the contrary, a COVID-19 response employee who is confirmed as COVID-19 positive on or after March 18, 2020, either by physician or by test, shall be presumed to have suffered a “personal injury,” as that term is defined by section 401(2)(b) of the WDCA, MCL 418.401(2)(b)."

Please note that "COVID-19 response employee" is defined in the EO.

Please click here for a link to the EO 2020-128 for more details.

By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Michigan schools may resume in-person education as part of Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan, with health and safety measures in place.

Whitmer said she is “optimistic” schools will return to in-person learning in the fall. Whitmer plans to release an Executive Order and Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap June 30 based on recommendations from the Return to Learn Advisory Council and health care leaders. She said she will use the MI Safe Start Plan and Michigan’s eight MERC regions to decide where in-person instruction can resume and how that instruction will be implemented.

The governor stressed the need for federal financial assistance for schools, as they will have increased costs due to new protocols.

She also extended the State of Emergency, which was set to expire June 19, until July 16. The State of Emergency gives Whitmer the authority to issue COVID-19 related Executive Orders. She said all states are currently operating under some form of State of Emergency.

Whitmer said she still hopes to move the rest of the state to Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan by July 4. She urged residents and businesses to continue to do their part to reduce the spread of coronavirus by wearing masks and keeping a 6-foot social distance between individuals not residing in the same household.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Orders moving two regions in Northern Michigan into Phase 5 of her MI Safe Start Plan and opening personal services throughout the state.

Regions 6 and 8, the Upper Pennisula and Traverse City region, will transition to Phase 5 on June 10, opening hair, massage and nail salons, movie theaters and gyms. COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures are established in the Executive Orders to protect employees and customers. Facial coverings must be worn by customers and employees, who are required to maintain a social distance of six-feet between them.

On June 15, personal services, including hair, massage and nail salons, will reopen statewide, with Regions 1-5 and 7 remaining in Phase 4.

Phase 5 also expands indoor and outdoor social gathering limits with restrictions. Indoor social gatherings and organized events of up to 50 people are permitted provided individuals maintain social distance of six feet. Outdoor social gatherings and organized events of no greater than 250 people are allowed with the six-feet social distancing. However, outdoor performance and sporting venues are given an additional capacity of up to 500 persons, maintaining social distance.

Specific indoor public entertainment venues in the northern regions, including: arcades, bowling alleys, cinemas, climbing facilities, convention centers, performance spaces, meeting halls, night clubs, sports arenas, theaters, or similar venues may open up to 25% of their maximum capacity or 250 people, whichever is smaller, with social distancing maintained.

Click here for the complete details in Executive Orders 2020-114 and 2020-115.

Whitmer updated workplace safeguards for gyms, in-home services, hair salons, and entertainment venues and appointed Sean Egan, Deputy Director for Labor at the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, to serve as Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety. Executive Directive 2020-6 details the appointment. Executive Order 2020-91 requires businesses follow strict safety guidelines to protect workers and patrons from COVID-19 infection.

By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted the state’s stay-at-home order June 1 and moved the entire state into Phase 4 of the six-phase reopening plan, but while more businesses are opening she was quick to add social distancing and facial coverings are still required.

Now in the “Improving” phase, groups of 100 or less may gather outdoors with social distancing, effective immediately. Retailers may open to customers, no longer by appointment only, starting June 4 and restaurants are able to reopen for dining inside June 8, with capacity limits. Restaurants must also place tables 6-feet apart and have servers wear masks. Day camps may reopen, with restrictions, and outdoor public pools may reopen at 50 percent capacity on June 8. In-home services, like housecleaning, and office work that cannot be performed remotely may also resume.

Indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people. Residents must wear facial coverings inside enclosed public spaces and should continue to work from home to the maximum extent possible. Social distancing among individuals not in the same household remains in place. Whitmer encouraged those at high risk of severe medical complications if they were to contract COVID-19 to continue to stay home.

Executive Order 110 prohibits the following businesses from reopening at this time: Indoor cinemas and performance venues, indoor exercise and recreation facilities, casinos, state-licensed racetracks and non-essential personal care services including: hair, nails, tanning, tattoos, piercing, and traditional spas.

Indoor or outdoor amusement, recreation or entertainment services or facilities involving close contact for patrons remain closed including: amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, indoor dance areas, skating rinks and trampoline parks.

Gov. Whitmer said she hopes to continue lowering restrictions for certain areas of the state as early as later this week. However, should there be a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the state, she said, the return to more stringent restrictions may be necessary.

“Celebrate safely, practice social distancing and wear your masks,” she said.

Click here for more details on Executive Order 110.

While some restrictions were lifted statewide last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the state's Stay-at-Home Executive Order until June 12 and the State of Emergency until June 19.

Whitmer's authority to extend the State of Emergency was upheld by Judge Cynthia Stephens on May 21, 2020 following a lawsuit brought by the state legislature. Republican legislative leaders had claimed legislative approval was necessary to extend the State of Emergency.

Retailers providing non-essential services may reopen beginning today, May 26, by appointment with a maximum of 10 customers in their stores at any given time. By the end of week, non-emergency medical, dental and veterinary services may resume under Executive Orders Whitmer issued last week.

Among the most recent orders, watercraft registrations that were set to expire between Feb. 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020 are now valid until July 31, 2020.

Click on the following Executive Orders for more information:

By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is continuing to loosen restrictions of the state's Stay-at-Home order. Whitmer signed Executive Orders May 21 partially reopening businesses, permitting gatherings of up to 10 people, and lifting medical restrictions throughout the state.

Executive Order 97 put in place stricter workplace safety protocols at outpatient health-care facilities to protect workers and patrons against the spread of coronavirus.

The Executive Orders modify the state’s Stay-at-Home order, currently in effect until May 28, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Under Executive Order 96, groups of 10 people or less may gather, effective immediately. Participants must practice social distancing and wear face masks in enclosed public spaces.

Retail businesses and vehicle dealer showrooms may reopen by appointment only on May 26. Businesses are limited to 10 customers inside at a time. Businesses must implement rules to protect their workers and customers from the spread of COVID-19. Workers are to be trained in the proper use of personal protection equipment and infection control procedures.

On May 29, non-essential medical, dental and veterinary procedures may resume.

Whitmer said she plans to announce a short-term extension of the Stay-at-Home order in the next few days.