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Michigan: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

MICHIGAN

February 15, 2021:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) announced several updates to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy. The changes include:

  • Mortuary service workers who routinely work with infectious materials will be able to be vaccinated as part of group 1A;
  • Certain providers will be allowed to vaccinate residents age 60 and up (although some facilities will still only be able to vaccinate adults age 65 and up); and
  • Workers in the food processing and agriculture settings will be able to get vaccinated as of March 1.

MDHHS also announced that 41 federally qualified health centers in medically underserved areas across the state will act as new vaccination locations and will soon start receiving doses of the vaccine to help vaccinate residents 65 and older.

February 11, 2021:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) released its latest order spelling out Mandatory Testing procedures for Prison Staff. The procedures include:

  • Testing all staff at the facility where the outbreak of special concern has been declared. Testing must be performed daily for at least 14 days following the notification.
  • Excluding from work staff who do not receive a test when required to get tested.
  • Excluding from work staff who are found to be COVID-19 positive until they meet all return to work criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These procedures are to be implemented by a facility upon notification by MDHHS that an outbreak at a prison is of special concern and will remain in place for the duration of the outbreak.

February 8, 2021:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released an updated Gatherings and Face Mask Order clarifying the gathering restrictions on a variety of indoor, outdoor, residential, and non-residential venues. Generally, indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 persons from no more than two households, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 or fewer persons. All people at a gathering must wear a face mask. The Order, which will remain in effect until March 29, 2021 at 11:59 p.m., also specifies contact tracing requirements to be imposed on certain gatherings.

February 3, 2021:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) released an updated COVID-19 Vaccination Interim Prioritization Guidance document elaborating on the various phases of vaccination, the priorities of each phase, and answers common questions. Generally, the phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1A: paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B: frontline essential workers and individuals 75 years of age and older.
  • Phase 1C: other essential workers, persons between 65 and 74 years of age, and individuals from 16 to 64 years of age with underlying medical conditions.
  • Phase 2: mass vaccination campaign for all persons age 16 years or older.

Michigan is currently vaccinating individuals who are age 75 and older in Phase 1B, Group A, as well as individuals between 65 and 74 years old in Phase 1C.

February 2, 2021:

On February 2, 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) put out a Standing Order for COVID-19 Tests. The Order takes effect immediately and will remain in effect until rescinded. The directives in this Order supplement previous authorizations for testing.

The Order authorizes vaccine administration by any person appropriately trained and outlines a mandatory COVID-19 testing procedure to be followed. Persons administering COVID-19 tests pursuant to this Order must adhere to the following testing procedure:

  1. Evaluate individuals for symptoms of COVID-19 consistent with testing workflows from MDHHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
  2. Provide testing information and/or fact sheets;
  3. Offer an opportunity for questions;
  4. Obtain consent for testing;
  5. Administer the test pursuant to manufacturer instructions;
  6. Document the following:
    • Date, time, and location of test;
    • Name, title, and professional license number (if applicable) of person administering or ordering the test;
    • Name of test and manufacturer lot and number;
    • Results of the test;
    • Presenting symptoms, if any; and
    • Verification of signed consent form.
  7. Notify individual and ordering provider of test results;
  8. Submit required data and test results to MDHHS and the applicable local health department;
  9. Promptly input information into the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS) via the secure online portal; and
  10. In the event of a positive test result, immediately notify the designated point of contact at the local health department to initiate contact tracing and appropriate control measures pursuant to the applicable state and local epidemic orders.

The Order also authorizes testing laboratories to provide test results directly to the individual who was tested for COVID-19.

In addition to the Standing Order, the MDHHS also put out a supplemental Administration Order, which gives any Authorized Physician–including Chief Medical Executives, health officers, or medical directors who are physicians licensed to practice medicine in the State of Michigan–the authority to issue a standing order for any CLIA-waiver, FDA-authorized SARS-CoV-2 test that has received emergency use authorization for COVID-19.

January 25, 2021:

Director Gordon, of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, signed an updated Gatherings and Face Mask Order, effective February 1, 2021. The order, which will remain in effect until February 21, 2021, has the following restrictions:

  • Indoor gatherings can have no more than 10 people from no more than 2 households;
  • Outdoor gatherings at residential venues can have no more than 25 people from no more than 3 households; outdoor gatherings at non-residential venues are limited based on the amount of fixed seating and capacity of the venue;
  • Gatherings at entertainment facilities, recreational facilities, and food service establishments are subject to further restriction;
  • Retail stores, libraries, and museums cannot exceed 30% of total occupancy limits; exercise facilities cannot exceed 25% of the total occupancy limits;
  • Schools, colleges, technical schools, and universities are allowed to hold in-person classes and other events sponsored by the educational institution, except for extracurricular activities that involve physical contact and where masks cannot be worn;
  • Organized sports are prohibited unless all participants, teams, and venues comply with the enhanced testing regimen specified in the Testing and Additional Mitigation Measures for Athletic Practice and Play During Statewide Athletics ‘Pause’ section of MDHHS’s document entitled Interim Guidance for Athletics;
  • All persons participating in gatherings are required to wear a face mask, unless an exception applies;
  • Certain facilities and businesses are prohibited from operating unless the facility maintains accurate contact-tracing records, including date and time of entry, names of patron, and contact information.

January 20, 2021:

Governor Whitmer unveiled the Michigan COVID-19 Recovery Plan, which includes a call to ramp up vaccine inoculations to 50,000 Michiganders per day. The plan also provides financial support to local health departments for costs associated with administering vaccinations, including staffing, equipment and supplies. The state is currently offering the vaccine to people 65 and older, health care workers, long term care workers and staff, and frontline essential workers including school and childcare staff, frontline responders, and corrections staff.

January 14, 2021:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) released another order, outlining specific requirements for hospitals, laboratories, and health professionals, as well as related instructions on how to follow those requirements. The requirements are as follows:

  • All Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA)-certified facilitates, including CLIA certificate waiver facilities, that process tests for COVID-19 to prioritize sampling and testing for COVID-19.
  • Physicians and other health professions who collect specimens for testing of COVID-19 must label the specimens in a specific manner, as outlined in the instructions.
  • Physicians and other health professionals who administer a vaccine for COVID-19 must document the vaccinating in the Michigan Care Improvement registry (MCIR).
  • Hospitals must abide by the instructions relating to reporting information related to the COVID-19 response.

The relevant instructions can be found on the last pages of the order. The order went into effect immediately on January 13, 2021 and will remain in effect until rescinded.

January 13, 2021:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) updated its epidemic order to allow re-opening of additional activities where Michiganders can remain masked and socially distanced. The new order allows indoor group exercise and non-contact sports. The new order is effective Saturday, January 16 and will last until Sunday, January 31.

Governor Whitmer also announced a new program providing employee assistance grants for those whose employment at entertainment and recreational venues and restaurants has been affected by the pandemic. The grant program is intended to help offset some of the financial losses employees in the hospitality, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food service sectors may have incurred. The key highlights about the program are as follows:

  • Eligible individuals can apply for one-time grants of up to $1,650.
  • There is only a 10-day window to apply for the grant – from January 15 to January 25;
  • Details regarding the application process can be found at www.MRLAEF.ORG/MONEY; and
  • Applications will be processed through February and payments will be issued in March.

January 12, 2021:

Director Gordon, of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) signed an order relating to increased testing requirements of Michigan Nursing Home Testing Staff. The Order requires that the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”) must demonstrate that nursing home inspection staff complete weekly COVID-19 testing and have obtained negative test results on their most recent test prior to conducting any on-site inspections.

January 5, 2021:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will be distributing 3.5 million free KN95 masks to Michiganders as part of its Mask Up, Mask Right program. Masks are available at sites around the state.

December 29, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed the bipartisan relief bill that the Michigan legislature passed earlier this week. The relief bill includes $55 million to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Grants of up to $20,000 will be made available to small businesses across the state that need support this winter. The relief bill also includes $3.5 million for grants of up to $40,000 each for live music and entertainment venues and includes $45 million in direct payments to workers who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of the virus.

Governor Whitmer also signed bipartisan Senate Bill 604 extending unemployment benefits for Michiganders who have lost work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic from 20-26 weeks until the end of March 2021. When she signed the bipartisan relief bill, Governor Whitmer line item vetoed any items not subject to negotiated agreement, including a $220 million giveaway of taxpayer money to the employer-owned Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund - a pool of funds designed to help businesses fund benefits for laid off workers.

December 21, 2020:

Director Gordon and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated the epidemic order that was set to expire on December 20, 2020. The new order, which goes into effect on Monday, December 21 and will last until Friday, January 15, allows additional indoor activities where Michiganders can remain masked, including in-person learning at high schools and indoor entertainment venues. Casinos, bowling centers and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen with total capacity capped at 100; food and drink concessions closed; and social distancing requirements in place. The key highlights of the new order are as follows:

  1. Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department. Families are encouraged to stay home this holiday season to maintain the positive momentum that has developed and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using new guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them.
  2. The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause indoor dining in bars and restaurants, but they can continue to offer outdoor dining, carry-out, and delivery. Colleges and universities will be able to have students return to campus for the winter semester, with a voluntary commitment to wait until January 18 to restart in-person courses.
  3. Gyms remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place. Outdoor group fitness and outdoor non-contact sports will again be allowed, including running, downhill and cross-country skiing.
  4. Under this new order, reopened indoor entertainment venues will not be required to collect names and contact information. With the amount of community spread that currently exists across the state and the heavy burden on contact tracing teams to keep up with these cases, it has become too challenging to meaningfully use this data for timely follow up. As case counts fall and contact tracing becomes able to keep up with the volume again, MDHHS expects to reinstate this information-gathering requirement.
  5. As before, employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, while employees who can work from home should continue to do so. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.

December 10, 2020:

Following the MDHHS’s extension of the Gatherings and Face Mask Order, which restricts indoor social gatherings and other group activities, several Michigan restaurants and bowling alleys have been fined for refusing to stop indoor service. In all but one case, the businesses had their liquor licenses suspended. The fines and suspensions follow “multiple violations” of the order, including blatant violations such as advertising that businesses were still open for indoor service.

December 7, 2020:

Director Gordon and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have extended by 12 days the epidemic order that restricts indoor social gatherings and other group activities. The additional 12 days will allow the department time to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on the spread of COVID-19 across Michigan.

Under the extended order, MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings, and only two households may gather inside, with strict protocols recommended. Individuals should wear masks consistently whenever they are inside with individuals not in their household, and are recommended to pick only a small group to see regularly. Bars and restaurants must remain closed for dine-in service, but can remain open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery. Gyms are open for individual exercise with mandatory masking and additional strict safety measures. Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes remain closed. Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators. Colleges, universities and high schools will continue with remote learning, with no in-person classes.

The order will keep existing measures in place through December 20 and does not include a blanket stay-home action. Employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, including those in manufacturing, construction and health occupations. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.

MDHHS also identified three key metrics that will be utilized in determining whether to slowly reopen at the end of the 12 days. Specifically, the department will be looking closely at the percentage of hospital beds with COVID patients, the number of COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate. With improvements in those numbers in context, MDHHS will carefully reopen, with in-person learning at high schools first. Next in line will be entertainment venues where people can maintain consistent masking, such as casinos, theaters and bowling, with concessions closed.

December 1, 2020:

Director Gordon, of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, signed the latest order relating to COVID-19, titled Testing of State of Michigan Nursing Home Inspection Staff. The order requires that the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”) must complete weekly COVID-19 testing of nursing home inspection staff and provide proof of a negative test result within the last seven days before inspection staff may enter a nursing home. Nursing home inspection staff must also get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if the staff member has a suspected or confirmed exposure to an individual with COVID-19.

The order went into effect on December 1, 2020 and will remain in effect until May 1, 2021, unless otherwise rescinded.

November 16, 2020:

Director Gordon, of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, signed the latest version of the Gatherings and Face Mask Order. Under this order, indoor gatherings are prohibited at all non-residential venues, and only prohibited at residential venues when there are no more than 10 people from no more than 2 households in attendance. Outdoor gatherings are similarly limited to 25 or fewer people from no more than 3 households. There are additional restrictions and exceptions for gatherings at certain facilities and for certain purposes, which are further explained in the order. Face masks and contact tracing requirements are also provided for in the order.

This latest order takes effect on November 18, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., at which time the previous order is rescinded. The order will remain in effect through December 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

November 3, 2020:

Just one day after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s latest Gatherings and Facemask Order went into effect, the department released a Q&A on Collection of Customer Information for Contact Tracing, as required under the order. The Q&A clarified the following points:

  • Organizations should collect only the name, phone number and date and time of service of patrons. No address or other information is needed.
  • Restaurants are not responsible for verifying customer information, though they must store what they are given for 28 days.
  • The information won’t be given to a local or state health department unless one requests it.
  • It also won’t be given to law enforcement or immigration officials, unless a subpoena requires it. It “will be protected as confidential information to the fullest extent of the law,” according to the state.
  • Restaurants are “encouraged” to collect information from all members of a party, or parent information for minors. However, one person per household is acceptable, the state said.
  • Under the new guidance, restaurants have a choice when customers won’t comply with the information request: “MDHHS recommends that the facility deny entry to the patron.”

The penalty for businesses that fail to meet these requirements is still a misdemeanor, carrying up to a six-month jail term and a possible $1,000 civil fine.

October 29, 2020:

Director Gordon of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a new Gatherings and Facemask Order, effective immediately and until it is rescinded. The order puts the entire state into phase four of Governor Whitmer’s reopening plan. Previously the Traverse City Region had been upgraded to phase five, but it is now in line with the rest of the state.

Under the new order, no more than 50 people can gather indoors unless there is fixed seating. Restaurants, bars and other indoor non-residential locations cannot allow more than six people at a table, and anyone who enters such an establishment must give their name and phone number so officials can reach them for contact tracing. The order also imposes civil fines of up to $1,000 for violations, which could also be treated as misdemeanors and punishable by up to six months in prison. Officials also state that failure to follow the order could violate a business or professional’s licensure requirements or present a workplace safety violation.

October 21, 2020:

Director Gordon of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services ordered new Requirements for Residential Care Facilities, following up on previous order on October 6, 2020. The new order lays out (1) resident and employee protections, (2) visitation requirements, (3) testing requirements for all residential care facilities. Residential care facilities include nursing homes, homes for the aged, adult foster care facilities, hospice facilities, substance use disorder residential facilities, and assisted living facilities.

Some of the required protections include:

  • Limiting communal dining and internal and external group activities, consistent with guidance issued on September 17, 2020;

  • Notification in the first 12 hours about the presence of a confirmed COVID-19 positive employee or resident;

  • Timely notification for employees of any changes in CDC recommendations;

  • Reporting to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services all presumed positive COVID018 cases in the facility.

Visitation in residential care facilities is generally prohibited unless an exception applies and the facility meets three subsequent criteria laid out in the order. Exceptions include:

  • Window visits when a barrier is maintained between the resident and visitor;

  • A parent, foster parent, or guardian of a resident who is 21 years of age or under; and

  • Visits that occur when a resident is in serious or critical condition or in hospice care, among others.

If an exception is met and the residential care facility meets the required criteria, there are strict protocols specified in the order regarding conducting visitation.

October 13, 2020:

The Michigan Supreme Court on Monday October 12, 2020 denied Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request to delay the effect of the court’s previous ruling that Governor Whitmer’s executive orders on the coronavirus pandemic are unconstitutional. Ten days ago, the court ruled the Governor had no authority to issue or renew executive orders relating to Covid-19 beyond April 30.

Governor Whitmer filed a motion last Monday, saying more time was needed to "allow for an orderly transition during which some responsive measures can be placed under alternative executive authority and the Governor and Legislature can work to address many other pandemic-related matters that currently fall under executive orders." The court wrote that “our decision today . . . leaves open many avenues for our Governor and Legislature to work together in a cooperative spirit and constitutional manner to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In response, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an Emergency Order requiring face coverings in public spaces and places limitations on bars and other venues. The order was not invalidated by the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision and remains in place until October 30, 2020.

October 5, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-192, which changes the status of Region 8 from Phase 5 back down to Phase 4. Region 8, which is comprised primarily of the Upper Peninsula, has had climbing case rates since June. Following a significant spike in cases in mid-September, the Region has been moved down into a more restrictive phase to hopefully prevent further spread. Similar to most of the state of Michigan, except for Region 6, Region 8 now has required remote work, where feasible, and capacity and attendance restrictions. The full extent of the restrictions can be found in Executive Order 2020-183, which previously excluded Region 8.

The status of Governor Whitmer’s various COVID-related executive orders is now up in the air. On October 4, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel publicly stated that she would no longer enforce Governor Whitmer’s orders. Nessel’s decision is not binding on other law enforcement. Following shortly after Nessel’s decision, the Michigan Supreme Court released its decision on the legality of the various COVID orders. The Court concluded that Governor Whitmer lacked the authority to declare a state of emergency or state of disaster under the Emergency Management Act, after her initial declaration ended on April 30, 2020. Further, the Court decided that the Michigan Emergency Power of Governors Act, which many of Whitmer’s orders rested on, was in violation of the state constitution, due to its delegation of legislative powers to the executive branch. Whitmer has argued that she can use her state agencies to issue directives similar to the executive orders. The enforcement of those directives, though, would be in the hands of local and state officials.

September 30, 2020:

In light of pending litigation, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-186, which declares a state of emergency and state of disaster related to the COVID-19 pandemic, using the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 and the Emergency Management Act of 1976. The order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until October 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm. Executive Order 2020-177 is rescinded and all previous orders that rest on that order now rest on the new order.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-187, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order-173. The new order encourages the use of electronic signatures and remote notarization, witnessing, and visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Whitmer also signed three executive orders, which provide temporary measures for certain facilities and establishments in the state:

  • Executive Order 2020-188 orders temporary restrictions on entry into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities;
  • Executive Order 2020-189 orders temporary protocols for entry into Michigan Department of Correction facilities and transfers to and from Department custody, as well as providing temporary recommended COVID-19 protocols and enhanced early-release authorization;
  • Executive Order 2020-190 order temporary safety measures for food-selling establishments and pharmacies and temporary relief from requirements applicable to the renewal of licenses for the food-service industry.

The temporary measures, in their entirety, can be found in each executive order, respectively.

September 28, 2020:

In light of pending litigation on previous orders, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-183: Safe Start, which is invoked under the powers given to her under the Emergency Management Act (MCL 30.403(1)-(2)). Under the new Safe Start Order, the following restrictions are in place:

  • Except in Regions 6 and 8 (as further described in paragraph 12 of the order), any work that is capable of being performed remotely must be performed remotely. Although not required, in regions 6 and 8, any work capable of being performed remotely should be performed remotely.
  • Any individual who leaves his or her home or place of residence must follow social distancing measures, follow mask requirements, and any other rules under Executive Order 2020-153.
  • Until 12:01 a.m. on October 9, 2020, certain places of public accommodation are closed to entry, use and occupancy by members of the public, including, but not limited to, indoor theatres and performance venues, Millionaire Parties, amusement parks, bowling centers, ice rinks and waterparks.
  • Food service establishments must close common areas in which people can congregate, dance or otherwise mingle. Various bars, restaurants, nightclubs and other establishments with liquor licenses are subject to further restrictions.
  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings and events are subject to certain capacity and mask requirements based on the specific venue.
  • Athletes training for, practicing for, or competing in an organized sport must wear a facial covering or consistently maintain 6 feet of social distance.
  • Outdoor parks and recreational facilities may be open, provided they make any reasonable modifications necessary to enable employees and patrons to maintain six feed of distance from one another.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-184, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order 2020-175, and is effective immediately. The new order provides updated safeguards to protect Michigan workers from COVID-19, including:

  • Developing a preparedness and response plan;
  • Designating one or more supervisors to implement, monitor, and report on the plan;
  • Provide communication and training regarding workplace infection control, proper use of PPE, and how to report unsafe working conditions; among others.

There are further requirements for specific workplaces including offices, construction, manufacturing, outdoor work, research labs, restaurants and bars, etc.

September 14, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed two new executive orders, both of which amend Executive Order 2020-176, the Safe Start Order. Executive Order 2020-180 amends Section 7(b) of the Safe Start Order, and now required all athletes training for, practicing for, or competing in an organized sport to wear a facial covering (except when swimming) or consistently maintain 6 feet of social distance (except for occasional and fleeting moments). For example, an athlete participating in a football, soccer, or volleyball game would not be able to consistently maintain 6 feet of distance, and therefore would need to wear a facial covering. Sports organizers must ensure that athletes comply with this section for each organized sporting event.

Executive Order 2020-181 adds to the Safe Start Order that in Regions 6 and 8, as defined in the Safe Start Order, indoor social gatherings or indoor organized events among persons not part of the same household are permitted so long as no more than 10 people attend and social distancing is maintained.

September 2, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed three new executive orders today. Executive Order 2020-172, which rescinds Executive Order 2020-166, prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an employee for staying home when he or she is at particular risk of infecting others with COVID-19. Specifically, employers must treat such an employee as if he or she were taking medical leave under the Paid Medical Leave Act, 2018 PA 338, as amended, MCL 408.961 et seq.

Second, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-173, which rescinds Executive Order 2020-158, encourages the use of electronic signatures and remote notarization, witnessing, and visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. To effectuate this, strict compliance with the rules and procedures under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act are temporarily suspended. As such, a signature will not be defined legal effect or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form and if a law requires a signature, an electronic signature satisfies the law. This order will continue through September 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

Lastly, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-174 continues the visitation restrictions put into place under Executive Order 2020-156 through September 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Specifically, all health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities must prohibit certain groups from entering their facilities, including any visitors that are not necessary for the provision of medical care and the support of activities of daily living. These facilities must also perform a health evaluation of all individuals that are not under the care of the facility each time the individual seeks to enter the facility.

August 27, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-167, which creates the Food Security Council, and advisory body within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Council is charged with identifying and analyzing food insecurity in Michigan, identifying and assessing policies to decrease food insecurity, and reviewing how current efforts related to food insecurity can best be coordinated.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-168, which requires temporary safety measures for food-selling establishments and pharmacies. Grocery stores and pharmacies must create at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations. Food-selling establishments and pharmacies must deploy strategies to reduce COVID-19 exposure, including providing access to handwashing facilities, ensuring checkout employees disinfect their hands between orders, and maintaining social distancing, among others. Additionally, this order rescinds Executive Order 2020-149.

Additionally, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-169, which provides enhanced protections for residents and staff of long-term care facilities. This order rescinds Executive Order 2020-148. Finally, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-170 which puts into place a temporary protocol for entry into Michigan Department of Corrections facilities and transfers to and from Department custody, which rescinds Executive Order 2020-146.

August 11, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-166, which provides protection to Michigan workers who stay home when they are sick during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order prohibits employers from discharging, discipling, or otherwise retaliating against an employee for staying home from work while sick. An employer must treat employees who stay home while sick as if the employee were taking medical leave. If the employee does not have paid leave, the leave may be unpaid.

The order requires that any person who tests positive for COVID-19 or who displays one or more of the primary symptoms for the virus stay home from work until:

  • He or she has been without a fever for 24 hours,
  • 10 days have passed since his or her symptoms first appeared or since he or she tested positive, and
  • His or her other symptoms have improved.

Any person who has had close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or who displays one or more of the primary symptoms of the virus must stay home from work until:

  • 14 days have passed since the last close contact with the sick person, or
  • The individual displaying symptoms of COVID-19 receives a negative test.

The order went into effect on August 7, 2020 and remains in effect until further notice.

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-168, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order 2020-149. The new order, which went into effect on August 10, 2020, enacts temporary safety measures for food-selling establishments and pharmacies. A food-selling establishment is defined as a grocery store, convenience store, restaurant, or any other business that sells food. The order requires that these businesses:

  • Ensure that employees and customers stay at least six feet apart to the extent possible,
  • Close self-serve food stations and eliminate free samples,
  • Adopt cleaning procedures in line with the guidelines set by the CDC,
  • Accommodate employees who are vulnerable to COVID-19 by offering low-risk assignments or leaves of absence, and
  • Notify food vendors and employees within 12 hours of learning that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

The order further requires that all grocery stores and pharmacies create at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for people who are at high-risk for COVID-19, such as people over 60 and people with chronic health conditions. The order remains in effect until September 7, 2020.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-169, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order 2020-148. The new order, which also went into effect on August 10, 2020, provides for enhanced protections for residents and staff of long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order requires that all long-term care facilities

  • Cancel all communal dining and group activities,
  • Ensure adequate disinfecting of the facility in accordance with the guidelines set by the CDC,
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer to all employees who interact with residents, and
  • Notify employees within 12 hours of learning that a resident has tested positive for COVID-19.

The order also provides that nursing homes make reasonable efforts to create a dedicated COVID-19 unit to isolate residents who contract COVID-19. The order remains in effect until September 7, 2020.

August 3, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-157, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order 2020-140. The new order temporarily suspends the requirement under the Youth Employment Standards Act that any person under 16 years old apply for a work permit in person. Instead, the order permits that such applications be submitted by mail, e-mail, fax, or a web-based form. Any issuing officer must make information on how to submit an application publicly available. The new order went into effect on July 27, 2020 and remains in effect through August 31, 2020.

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-160, which provides an update on Michigan’s “safe start,” or reopening plan. The new order requires that any work capable of being performed remotely must be performed remotely. Under the new order, the following places must be closed to the public:

  • Indoor theaters, cinemas, and performance venues;
  • Indoor gymnasiums, fitness centers, and other exercise facilities; and
  • Recreational and entertainment facilities, such as amusement parts, bowling alleys, trampoline parks, and bingo halls.

Casinos and racetracks may reopen on August 5, 2020, and pools may open at a limited capacity (50% for outdoor pools, 25% for indoor pools). The order also restricts indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and outdoor gatherings to no more than 100 people. The order goes into effect immediately.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-161, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order 2020-145. The new order provides guidance for businesses that require their employees to leave their homes for work. It requires that these businesses, at a minimum:

  • Develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, which includes the procedures to follow if an employee tests positive for the virus;
  • Place posters in the common areas of the business that encourage staying home when sick and that outline proper hygiene practices, such as hand washing;
  • Implement a daily self-screening protocol for all employees;
  • Ensure that employees remain six feet apart from one another while working or require that face coverings be worn when social distancing is not possible;
  • Make cleaning supplies readily available to employees; and
  • Increase facility cleaning and disinfection, especially on high-touch surfaces, such as door handles.

The new order goes into effect immediately.

July 27, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-145, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order-114. The new order outlines updated safeguards to protect individuals from contracting COVID-19 while at work. Specifically, the order mandates that all businesses that require their employees to leave their homes for work:

  • Develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, including what to do if an employee tests positive for the virus;
  • Place posters around the business that encourage people to stay home when sick and that outline proper hygiene practices, such as handwashing;
  • Require employees to conduct daily self-screening protocols, including completing a questionnaire covering symptoms of the virus and potential exposure to COVID-19;
  • Keep employees at least six feet apart from one another or provide employees with face coverings if social distancing is not possible;
  • Make cleaning supplies available to all employees at the entrance to the business and increase facility cleaning and disinfection; and
  • Restrict any business-related travel to essential travel only.

The Governor also signed Executive Order 2020-149, which creates specific operating procedures for grocery stores, restaurants, and pharmacies. The order, which went into effect on July 13, 2020, requires these businesses to:

  • Create at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations, such as people 60 years or older and people with chronic health conditions;
  • Require that any checkout employees wear a face covering and disinfect their hands and stations between customers;
  • Ensure that both and customers and employees stay at least six feet apart whenever possible;
  • Close any self-serve food stations and eliminate tasting stations; and
  • Notify any food vendors and all employees no later than 12 hours after learning that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

July 23, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-147, which requires individuals to wear face coverings in Michigan. The order, which went into effect on July 13, 2020, required individuals to wear a face covering in any indoor public space. The order also requires that a face covering be worn outdoors when social distancing is not possible and while using public transportation, including taxis and ride sharing services. The order applies to any individual 5 years or older, with the following exceptions:

  • Anyone with a medical condition that prevents him or her from wearing a face covering;
  • Anyone who is eating or drinking at a restaurant or other food service establishment;
  • Anyone exercising, when wearing a face covering would interfere with the activity; or
  • Anyone communicating with an individual who has a hearing impairment.

Businesses that are open to the public are instructed to post signs at their entrances indicating that all customers are required to wear a face covering while inside. No business should allow a customer to enter without a face covering.

June 24, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-131, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order-77. The new order encourages:

  • The use of electronic signatures and remote notarization, witnessing, and visitation.
  • A strict compliance with rules and procedures under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) to enforce electronic signatures if a law requires a signature.
  • A strict compliance with Section 19 of the UETA to permit each department to send an electronic records and signatures to and from other persons without a determination from or approval by the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
  • A strict compliance with the Michigan Law on Notarial Acts to temporarily suspend the requirement of a notary to be in the physical presence of an individual seeking the notary’s service.
  • A requirement under Michigan law that an in-person witness may be satisfied through a virtual technology.
  • A guardian, guardian ad litem, or visitor may satisfy visitation requirements through a virtual technology.
  • Financial institutions and registers of deeds should accept a tangible copy of an electronic record.

This order is effective immediately and continues through July 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm.

June 18, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-127, which extends the state of emergency and state of disaster relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and rescinds Executive Order 2020-99. The new order is effective immediately and continues through July 16, 2020, at 11:59 pm. In light of ongoing litigation, Governor Whitmer will evaluate the continuing need for this order.

June 5, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Orders 2020-114 and 2020-115 to reopen more regions and economic sectors under the MI Safe Start Plan.

Starting on June 10, Regions 6 and 8 — which include much of northern Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula — will advance to Phase 5 of the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan. Phase 5 allows the reopening of salons, movie theaters, and gyms, subject to safety protocols and procedures designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

On June 15, personal services including hair, massages, and nails will reopen statewide. Though the remaining regions, 1 through 5 and 7, will remain in Phase 4 under today’s executive orders, the governor has said she expects the entire state will advance to Phase 5 in the coming weeks.

Under Phase 5, indoor social gatherings and organized events of up to 50 people are permissible. Outdoor social gatherings and organized events are also allowed if people maintain six feet of distance from one another and the gathering consists of no more than 250 people. In addition, outdoor performance and sporting venues will be open with a larger capacity limit of 500, which will allow for some outdoor graduation ceremonies.

June 4, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-112 which orders the following:

  • Effective immediately, Executive Order 2020-39, which grants temporary relief from certain restrictions governing the provision of emergency medical services, and Executive Order 2020-82, which details temporary enhancements to operational capacity of health care facilities, are rescinded.
  • Executive Order 2020-38, which grants temporary extensions for certain FOIA deadlines, is temporarily extended and will remain in effect through June 10, 2020. Effective June 11, 2020 at 12:01am, Executive Order 2020-38 is rescinded.

June 1, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-110, rescinding her Safer at Home order and moving the entire state to phase four of the MI Safe Start Plan.

The order will allow retailers to reopen on June 4 and restaurants to reopen on June 8, both subject to capacity limits. Day camps for children will likewise be permitted to open on June 8. Effective immediately, groups of 100 or less will be allowed gather outdoors with social distancing. Office work that is not capable of being performed remotely can resume. And in-home services, including housecleaning services, can resume operations.

Michiganders must continue to wear facial coverings when in enclosed public spaces and should continue to take all reasonable precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community. And they should continue to work from home to the maximum extent possible.

Subject to local regulation, gyms and fitness centers may conduct outdoor classes, practices, training sessions, or games, provided that coaches, spectators, and participants maintain six feet of distance from one another during these activities. Outdoor pools can also reopen, with restricted capacity.

May 26, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-99, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order 2020-67 and Executive order 2020-68. All previous orders which rested on those orders now rest on Executive Order 2020-99. This order, which went into effect immediately, extends the state of emergency declaration throughout the State of Michigan, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, through June 19, 2020 at 11:59.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-100 which amends certain previously issued executive orders to clarify their duration. These amendments include the following:

1.  The following executive orders remain in effect and do not terminate until the end of the states of emergency and disaster declared in Executive Order 2020-99 or the end of any subsequently declared states of disaster or emergency arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever comes later.

a. Executive Order 2020-26.

b. Executive Order 2020-28.

c. Executive Order 2020-36.

d. Executive Order 2020-39.

e. Executive Order 2020-58.

f. Executive Order 2020-61.

g. Executive Order 2020-64.

h. Executive Order 2020-76.

2.  The following executive orders are amended as follows:

a.  Under Executive Order 2020-46, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission may take physical possession of any spirits held by any licensee to which the Commission holds legal title at any time later than 90 days after the end of the states of emergency and disaster declared in Executive Order 2020-99 or the end of any subsequently declared states of disaster or emergency arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever comes later.

b.  Under Executive Order 2020-52, any three-year certificates that were set to expire on December 31, 2019 and were deemed unexpired will not expire until 60 days after the end of the states of emergency and disaster declared in Executive Order 2020-99 or the end of any subsequently declared states of disaster or emergency arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever comes later.

c.  Under Executive Order 2020-55, the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities will continue its work until 90 days after the end of the states of emergency and disaster declared in Executive Order 2020-99 or the end of any subsequently declared states of disaster or emergency arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever comes later, or such other time as the governor identifies.

d.  Under Executive Order 2020-58, all deadlines applicable to the commencement of all civil and probate actions and proceedings, including but not limited to any deadline for the filing of an initial pleading and any statutory notice provision or other prerequisite related to the deadline for filing of such a pleading, remain suspended and shall be tolled until the end of the states of emergency and disaster declared in Executive Order 2020-99 or the end of any subsequently declared states of disaster or emergency arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever comes later.

3.  Executive Orders 2020-62, 2020-69, and 2020-96 will remain in effect until 11:59 pm on June 12, 2020.

May 21, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order No. 2020-96, which rescinds Executive Order No. 2020-17, Executive Order No. 2020-34, Executive Order No. 2020-92. The new order puts into place the temporary requirement to suspend certain activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The order still requires all citizens of the State of Michigan to stay at home and only allows critical infrastructure workers, as defined by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to perform their jobs. The order also divides the state into eights regions and lays out specific timelines for when certain “resumed activities” – as defined in the order – may return to work. The order goes into effect immediately and will remain in effect through May 28, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order No. 2020-97 which lays out the required minimum standards employers must follow if they have employees returning to work. These include preparedness and response plans consistent with OSHA recommendations, designating supervisors responsible for implementing safe working conditions and reporting unsafe conditions, and training employees on safe workplace practices and the proper use of PPE, among other things.

May 18, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-92, allowing for the reopening, in two regions, of retail businesses, office work that cannot be done remotely, and restaurants and bars with limited seating. The two regions are both in the northern part of the state—specifically, MERC regions 6 and 8, as detailed in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy.

The partial reopening will take effect on Friday, May 22. Cities, villages, and townships may choose to take a more cautious course if they wish: the order does not abridge their authority to restrict the operations of restaurants or bars, including limiting such establishments to outdoor seating.

All businesses that will reopen in regions 6 and 8 must adopt the safety measures outlined in Executive Order 2020-91. That means they must, among other things, provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions. Restaurants and bars will also have to limit capacity to 50% of their normal seating, to keep groups at least six feet from one another, to require their servers to wear face coverings, and to follow rigorous disinfection protocols.

Region 6 in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan includes the following counties: Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, and Emmet.

Region 8 in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan includes the following counties: Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Iron, Baraga, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, and Chippewa.

May 7, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-76, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order 2020-57. The new order builds upon earlier orders and continues to expand eligibility for unemployment benefits during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. This allows the state to review only an individual’s most recent job separation, which is the cause of the current unemployment, to determine the individual’s benefit entitlement.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-77 to extend Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order to May 28. The order will allow manufacturing workers, including those at Michigan’s Big 3 auto companies, to resume work on Monday, May 11 as part of the MI Safe Start Plan.

Under the new order, manufacturing facilities must adopt measures to protect their workers from the spread of COVID-19. That includes conducting a daily entry screening protocol for workers and everyone else entering the facility, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with a temperature screening as soon as no-touch thermometers can be obtained. They must also create dedicated entry points at every facility, and suspend entry of all non-essential in-person visits, including tours.

Manufacturing facilities must also train workers on, among other things, how COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person, signs and symptoms of COVID-19, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or suspected or confirmed diagnosis, and the use of personal protective equipment.

All businesses in the state—including manufacturers—must require masks to be worn when workers cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation from others, and consider face shields for those who cannot consistently maintain three feet of separation from other workers.

The governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect until May 28, 2020. Under this order, Michigan residents still must not leave their homes except to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities, or to go to specified jobs.

May 5, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-71, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order 2020-60. Under the new order:

  • Individuals entering food-selling establishments or pharmacies must wear a covering over their noses and mouths, if they can medically tolerate to do so;
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies must create at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations, including people over 60, pregnant people, and those with chronic conditions; and
  • Food-selling establishments and pharmacies must deploy strategies to reduce COVID-19 exposure for customers and employees, including but not limited to the suggestions outlined in the order.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-72, which rescinds and replaces Executive Order 2020-37. The new order, which is effective immediately and will continue through May 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m, requires:

  • all health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities must prohibit from entering their facilities any visitors that are not necessary;
  • all health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities must perform a health evaluation of all individuals that are not under the care of the facility each time the individual seeks to enter the facility, and must deny entry to those individuals who do not meet the evaluation criteria; and
  • all staff members and visitors of a residential care facility, congregate care facility, or juvenile justice facility must wear a covering over their nose and mouth when indoors or within six feet of another person.

May 1, 2020:

After the Michigan Legislature declined to extend the emergency and disaster declaration, Governor Whitmer signed several new executive orders related to COVID-19. Those orders include:

  • Executive Order 2020-66, which terminates the existing state of emergency and disaster declarations issued under the Emergency Management Act in Executive Order 2020-33.
  •  Executive Order 2020-67, which clarifies that a state of emergency remains in effect under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. The order is effective immediately and continues through May 28, 2020 at 11:59pm. The governor will evaluate the continuing need for this order prior to its expiration, and if she determines that an emergency no longer exists, will terminate or extend the state of emergency declared in this order.
  • Executive Order 2020-68, which declares a state of emergency and a state of disaster across the State of Michigan under the Emergency Management Act of 1976. The state of emergency and state of disaster declared by this order will be effective through May 28, 2020 at 11:59pm, and the governor will evaluate the continuing need for the order prior to its expiration, terminate the states of emergency and disaster if the threat or danger has passed.

Also related to COVID-19, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-69 which extends her previous order that temporarily closes certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, bars, casinos, and more. In order to maintain social distancing, the order also limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders. This order does not restrict a place of business from offering food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service. Places of public accommodation are encouraged to offer food and beverage service in one or more of those ways and use precautions to mitigate potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing and wearing as face covering. Restaurants may allow five people inside at a time to pick up orders, so long as they stay six feet apart from each other.

Further, today at a press conference, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-70 as part of the MI Safe Start plan. The order will allow the May 7 resumption of some types of work that present a very low risk of infection, including construction, real-estate activities, and work that is traditionally and primarily performed outdoors.

The governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect until May 15, 2020. Under this order, Michiganders still must not leave their homes except to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities, or to go to specified jobs. Executive Order 2020-70 also requires businesses to adopt measures to protect their workers against the spread of COVID-19.

Under the order, construction sites must adopt a set of best practices to protect their workers from infection. Those practices include:

  • Designating a site supervisor to enforce COVID-19 control strategies.
  • Conducting daily health screenings for workers.
  • Creating dedicated entry points, if possible, or issuing stickers or other indicators to assure that all workers are screened every day.
  • Identifying choke points and high-risk areas (like hallways, hoists and elevators, break areas, water stations, and buses) and controlling them to enable social distancing.
  • Ensuring sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations at the worksite.

Earlier, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-65 to extend and clarify Executive Order 2020-35, which ordered all K-12 school buildings to close for instructional purposes to students for the remainder of the school year, and provided continuity of learning infrastructure by setting guidelines for remote learning. In addition to continuing the actions taken in the previous executive order, Executive Order 2020-65 also suspends in-person instruction of both the Great Start Readiness Program and early childhood programs for the reminder of the 2019-2020 school year. GSRP is Michigan’s state-funded preschool program.

Under the re-issued EO, school districts that run Great Start Readiness Programs (GSRP) must also detail a plan on how the GSRP teaching team will engage with enrolled children and families as well as provide children and their families plans for the transition from GSRP to kindergarten. This outreach must include a virtual conference with the family. Schools must begin implementation of GSRP plans by May 7, 2020.

April 27, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-60 which requires any individual who enters a food-selling establishment or pharmacy to wear a face covering over his or her nose and mouth. It also requires such establishments to create certain periods of time dedicated to shoppers from vulnerable populations and to deploy strategies to reduce COVID-19 for their customers and employees.

The Governor also signed Executive Order 2020-63, which extends validity of existing personal protection orders that would otherwise expire during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic through July 21, 2020.

April 24, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed executive order 2020-59, extending the previous “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through May 15. The new order requires people to wear homemade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also lift some restrictions on outdoor activities and allow some workers who perform previously suspended activities to go back to work. The order will ease up on some restrictions on members of the public. It will, for example, allow motorized boating and golf (but no golf carts), consistent with sound social distancing. It also permits individuals to travel between their residences, though such travel during the epidemic is strongly discouraged. And it clarifies that state parks remain open, as they have been throughout the emergency.

April 23, 2020:

Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) today announced the creation of the MiMortgage Relief Partnership with over 200 of Michigan’s financial institutions to recognize and expand upon the measures that these institutions have been taking to assist customers to ensure that no one experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will lose their home during this public health crisis.

With the Mortgage Relief Partnership, participating financial institutions have agreed that they will continue to work with their impacted residential mortgage loan borrowers in at least the following ways:

  • Providing affected borrowers with a 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments;

  • Providing relief from mortgage-related late fees and charges for 90 days;

  • Foregoing new foreclosures for 60 days;

  • Refraining from reporting adverse credit scoring information based upon the borrower’s accessing relief; and

  • Working with borrowers on their specific needs or concern.

Governor Whitmer earlier this week issued Executive Order 2020-57, expanding eligibility for unemployment benefits during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The order expands the state’s workshare program, offering more tools to employers to reduce layoffs. It also extends unemployment benefits to workers who voluntarily left a job after accepting new employment but were unable to start their new position due to the pandemic.

The order also:

  • Allows anyone with an active unemployment claim to receive up to 26 weeks of benefits

  • Suspends the requirement for an individual seeking unemployment to request a registration and work search waiver from their employer

  • Allows Unemployment Insurance Agency retirees to keep their retirement benefits if they return to work to process unemployment claims or serve on the Occupational Health and Safety Commission

  • Expands cost-sharing with employers to reduce layoffs

April 21, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-55, which created the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force or Racial Disparities, due to the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color. The Task Force will act in an advisory capacity to the Governor, and is charged with a variety of tasks, including studying the cause of racial disparity, providing outreach to stakeholders, and identifying avenues of funding for combatting racial disparities.

April 14, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed three new Executive Orders which extend three Orders signed last month. Executive Order 2020-43 extended the temporary restrictions on the use of places of public accommodation through April 30, 2020 at 11:59pm. Places of public accommodation include restaurants, bars, theatres, libraries, fitness centers, and places of public amusement.

Executive Order 2020-44 extended the lift on weight and other delivery-related restrictions for vehicles carrying essential supplies to mitigate the spread of COVID -19. Order 2020-45 extended the order allowing certain state administrative hearings, including employment and unemployment insurance related hearings, to be held by video conference or phone in place of in-person hearings. Both Orders are in effect until May 11.

April 9, 2020:

Governor Whitmore signed Executive Order 2020-42. The Order states that the previous Shelter-At-Home Order is to be construed broadly to prohibit any in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life, which is defined to include all critical infrastructure workers. The Order adopts the original March 19 CISA guidance to define critical infrastructure, and expressly does not adopt subsequent guidance. In addition to the CISA guidance, the critical infrastructure workers include the supply chain for other essential businesses, grocery stores, laundry, hotels, and critical union labor workers. Businesses must determine which employees qualify as critical infrastructure workers and notify them in writing. The Order also limits the number of individuals that may be in a store at once, based on square footage. The Order remains in effect through April 30, 2020.

April 6, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-37, which renews the restrictions on entry into care facilities and juvenile justice facilities the governor issued on March 14, 2020 until May 3, 2020. The order now requires facilities to use best efforts to facilitate remote visitations between individuals under their care and their loved ones, using phone or video conferencing software. The order also clarifies that “residential care facilities” include, but are not limited to, homes for the aged, nursing homes, adult foster care facilities, hospice facilities, substance abuse disorder residential facilities, independent living facilities, and assisted living facilities.

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-38, which relaxes requirements for responding to FOIA requests made by mail or fax during the COVID-19 emergency. This action will protect workers who handle FOIA requests by allowing public bodies to defer portions of requests that would require workers to report to work in-person. The Executive Order takes effect immediately and ends at 11:59 p.m. on June 4, 2020. Under the Executive Order, a public body must respond to a request received at its physical office via U.S. mail or fax within 10 business days after an employee receives and views the request. If a request requires a search of physical records it will be deferred until after the state of emergency and disaster declared in Executive Order 2020-33 is lifted.

March 23, 2020:

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order No. 2020-21, which ordered all individuals currently living within the state of Michigan to stay at home or at their place of residence. All businesses are required to stop operations unless they are deemed critical infrastructure workers. The order defines critical infrastructure workers in accordance with the CISA guidance on the same, as well as additional industries including child care workers, distribution centers, and shelters.

March 16, 2020:

Governor Whitmer closed all restaurants, bars, and other public accommodation locations offering food and beverages on premises in Executive Order 2020-9. The Governor also closed theatres, libraries, gyms, and places of public amusement. Both closures last until at least March 30, with the date likely to be extended. The restrictions do not apply to health care facilities, crisis shelters, and other public accommodation locations defined in the order. There is nothing in the order that prevents other businesses from operating as usual.

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