28 April 2020

EO 2020-59’s “Face Covering” Requirement and What That Means for Michigan Employers

On April 24, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued EO 2020-59, an updated “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, with portions taking immediate effect and continuing through May 15, 2020.

One provision that took effect on Monday, April 26, 2020 is a requirement for individuals to wear face coverings. Members of the general public are required to wear a face covering only when in any enclosed public space. Although the term “face covering” is not defined in EO 2020-59, examples of acceptable face coverings are listed, and include “homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief.” Therefore, individuals should not interpret “face covering” to mean a “mask”- such as a filtering respirator or a specialized medical grade or surgical mask.

But, its not just members of the general public that are impacted by EO 2020-59’s requirements regarding face coverings; all businesses and operations whose workers perform in-person work, must now, at a minimum, provide non-medical grade face coverings to their workers regardless of their workers’ location. Additionally, throughout Michigan, several counties also have varying degrees of requirements for face coverings for employees and customers.

Employers covered under EO 2020-59 are not required to mandate that their employees wear face coverings, only that such face coverings must be provided. However, to the extent that the employer can, just like handwashing and social distancing, encouraging employees to wear face coverings makes sense as part of an employer’s overall safety plan that incorporates OSHA’s and the CDC’s updated guidance. EO 2020-59’s new requirement is generally in line with the CDC recommendations on face-coverings, and as such, CDC resources related to proper fit, proper removal, maintenance, and sanitation are helpful to review and even post or provide to employees:

For more information regarding these requirements, contact the authors of this article, or your Miller Johnson attorney.