What is “Essential” in Michigan?
On April 9, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-42 (Executive Order), which directs Michigan residents to “remain at home or in their place of residence to the maximum extent feasible” until 11:59 pm on April 30, 2020, unless exempted under the Executive Order. Subject to certain exceptions, the Executive Order limits in-person business and governmental operations, requires Michigan residents to remain in their homes, and prohibits “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household.” Willful violation of the Executive Order is a misdemeanor. Below is a summary of the restrictions that apply to businesses:
In general, businesses may not “conduct operations that require workers to leave their homes or places of residence except to the extent that those workers are necessary  to sustain or protect life or  to conduct minimum basic operations.”
Critical Infrastructure Workers
Workers necessary to sustain or protect life are “critical infrastructure workers” (CIWs), defined as:
- Workers identified in the March 19, 2020 guidance of the Director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
- Certain child-care workers who support CIWs
- Workers at suppliers, distribution centers, or service providers whose continued operation is necessary to enable, support, or facilitate another business’s or operation’s critical infrastructure work, to the extent those workers’ presence is necessary to enable, support, or facilitate such work
- Workers in the insurance industry (to the extent their work cannot be done remotely);
- Workers and volunteers for businesses/operations that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for certain needy individuals
- Workers who perform certain critical labor union functions (to the extent their work cannot be done remotely)
- Workers at retail stores who sell groceries, medical supplies, and 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
- Workers at laundromats, coin laundries, and dry cleaners
- Workers at hotels and motels that do not offer in-house amenities such as gyms, pools, spas, dining, entertainment facilities, meeting rooms, or like facilities
- Workers at motor vehicle dealerships who are necessary to facilitate remote and electronic sales or leases, or to deliver motor vehicles to customers, provided that showrooms remain closed to in-person traffic
Businesses that employ CIWs may “may continue in-person operations” subject to the following conditions: (1) each business must designate and so inform its CIWs in writing; (2) “[i]n-person activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life must be suspended until normal operations resume”; and (3) businesses maintaining in-person activities must adopt certain social distancing practices and other mitigation measures.
Minimum Basic Operations
The second category of exempted business operations—minimum basic operations—covers workers whose “in-person presence is strictly necessary to allow the business or operation to maintain the value of inventory and equipment, care for animals, ensure security, process transactions (including payroll and employee benefits), or facilitate the ability of other workers to work remotely.” Workers necessary to carry on minimum basic operations must be so designated in writing and informed by their employers. Businesses maintaining in-person activities for minimum basic operations must adopt the same social distancing and mitigation measures mentioned above with respect to businesses employing CIWs.
Michigan’s Executive Orders related to COVID-19 as well as FAQs can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/0,9309,7-387-90499_90705—,00.html
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