09 April 2020

Governor Whitmer Extends Stay Home, Stay Safe Order Through April 30, with New Requirement for COVID-19 Response Plan and New Restrictions on Retail Stores

***Information and guidance in client updates was up to date at time of publication. During the pandemic, information and guidance has been changing rapidly. If you have any questions about the information contained in a client update, please contact the author(s) or your Miller Johnson attorney.***

Today, April 9, 2020, Governor Whitmer ordered an extension to Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order through April 30, 2020.  The original order was set to expire on April 13, 2020.  The extended order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight.

In general, while the extended order made some modifications to the original order, it will not result in significant alterations to the day-to-day operations of businesses that are permitted to continue in-person work:

  • The extended order includes the same categories of “critical infrastructure workers” that were identified in the original order, and adds some additional categories for certain retail stores, laundromats and dry cleaners, and (to a limited extent) hotels, motels, and motor vehicle dealerships.
  • The extended order requires businesses that remain open to develop a “COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.”
  • The extended order adds new restrictions on retail stores to limit public access and restrict the sales of non-essential goods.

Miller Johnson will address the details of the extended order, including the required COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, in greater depth in upcoming webinars and client updates.

Critical Infrastructure Workers

The extended order continues to permit businesses that employ “critical infrastructure workers” to maintain in-person operations necessary to perform the businesses’ critical infrastructure functions.  The extended order, like the original order, incorporates the March 19, 2020 guidance of the Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that identifies “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” in several industry sectors.

The extended order includes new categories of critical infrastructure workers, including certain workers at:

  • Stores that sell groceries, medical supplies, and other products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of residences (including convenience stores, pet supply stores, auto supplies and repair stores, hardware and home maintenance stores, and home appliance retailers)
  • Laundromats, coin laundries, and dry cleaners
  • Hotels and motels
  • Motor vehicle dealerships (for remote and electronic sales, or to deliver vehicles to customers provided that showrooms remained closed to in-person traffic)

The extended order, like the original order, requires a business to make written designations of its critical infrastructure workers.  Businesses that already made these designations need not do so again.

On March 28, 2020, CISA issued updated guidance, identifying additional critical infrastructure workers.  Michigan’s extended order does not incorporate CISA’s updated guidance.

Minimum Basic Operations

The extended order also continues to permit workers to come to work to perform “minimum basic operations,” including maintaining the value of inventory and equipment, caring for animals, ensuring security, processing transactions, and facilitating remote work. These workers must be designated in writing.  Businesses that already made these designations need not do so again.

New Requirement of COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan

The extended order requires businesses that maintain in-person operations to develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with the recommendations in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.

New Restrictions on Retail Stores Open to Public

Under the extended order, retail stores that remain open for in-person sales must take certain measures to limit public access.  These measures include establishing lines to regulate entry and marking off areas where patrons can stand 6 feet apart.  For stores with less than 50,000 square feet of customer floor space, stores must limit the number of customers in the store to 25% of the total occupancy limit.  Larger stores must limit the number of customers to 4 people per 1,000 square feet.

Larger stores must also comply with measures to restrict sales of non-essential goods.  Under the extended order, they must close areas of the store that are dedicated to carpet, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, and paint, and they must refrain from advertising goods that are not groceries, medical supplies, or items necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of residences.  The order also requires these larger stores to establish dedicated shopping hours for vulnerable populations.

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Miller Johnson has counseled many businesses and sole proprietors on compliance with Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order.  We are also staying apprised of the stay-at-home orders issued in other states and counties around the country.  We are ready to efficiently and promptly analyze whether your business is exempt from these orders and may continue to operate, and, if so, provide you with the necessary documents to continue to operate.  Please contact your Miller Johnson attorney with any questions.