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Michigan Governor Consolidates In-Person Workplace Safety Requirements And Announces Initial Reopening Standards


Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an Executive Order to consolidate and update in-person workplace safety requirements that were previously provided within the shelter-in-place order, while also outlining new guidance on how restaurants, bars, research laboratories, and offices will be able to operate in areas of the state safe enough for them to operate. To be clear, this order did not reopen all Michigan restaurants, bars, retail stores, and offices.

Governor Whitmer issued a separate executive order that allowed restaurants, bars, non-essential retail locations, and offices to open up in the upper peninsula and most northern Michigan counties in the lower peninsula (Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, and Emmet) starting May 22. Below please find a summary of the general requirements all employers must follow, as well as the industry-specific requirements that must be followed.


The order requires all employers comply with certain requirements to open. Most notably, every employer must develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with recommendations in Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, developed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Every employer must have their plan readily available (via website, internal network, or hard copy) to employees, labor unions, and customers by June 1, 2020 or within two weeks of resuming in-person activities, whichever is later.

Every employer is required to designate one or more worksite supervisors to implement, monitor, and report on the COVID-19 control strategies within the plan. The supervisor must remain on-site at all times when employees are present on site. Every employer must provide COVID-19 training to employees that covers at least: (1) workplace infection-control practices; (2) proper use of personal protective equipment; (3) steps the employee must take to notify the employer of any COVID-19 symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19; and (4) how to report unsafe working conditions.

Every employer must also do all of the following:

Finally, the order requires employers maintain records of: (a) the COVID-19 training provided to employees; (b) the daily health screening questionnaires (and temperature checks); and (c) any confirmed positive COVID-19 case notifications. Employers should treat the latter two types of records as medical records that must be stored separately in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act.


Office-based employers must also do each of the following:

Restaurants And Bars

Restaurants and bars must do each of the following:

Manufacturing Employers

Manufacturing employers must also do each of the following:

Outdoor Employers

Employers whose work is primarily and traditionally performed outdoors must also: (a) prohibit gatherings in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another; (b) provide and require the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face coverings, as appropriate for the activity being performed; and adopt protocols to limit the sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible and to ensure frequent and thorough cleaning and disinfection of tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces.

Construction Industry Employers

Construction industry employers must also:

Research Labs (Non-Diagnostic Testing Labs)

Research lab employers must also:


Retail stores that are open for in-store sales must also:

As a reminder, all Michigan retail stores that sell groceries, medical supplies, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of residences or motor vehicles can be open throughout the state of Michigan. However, all other retailers are only permitted to be open for in-store shopping in the UP and certain northern Michigan counties starting May 22.

What Should Employers Do?

As you begin the process of reopening, you should familiarize yourself with our alert: 5 Steps To Reopen Your Workplace, According To CDC’s Latest Guidance. You should also keep handy our 4-Step Plan For Handling Confirmed COVID-19 Cases When Your Business Reopens in the event you learn of a positive case at your workplace. For a more thorough analysis of the many issues you may encounter from a labor and employment perspective, we recommend you review our FP BEYOND THE CURVE: Post-Pandemic Back-To-Business FAQs For Employers and our FP Resource Center For Employers.


Fisher Phillips will continue to monitor the rapidly developing COVID-19 situation and provide updates as appropriate. Make sure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips’ Alert System to get the most up-to-date information. For further information, contact your Fisher Phillips attorney, any attorney in our Detroit office, or any member of our Post-Pandemic Strategy Group Roster.

This Legal Alert provides an overview of a specific developing situation. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.


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