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On July 30, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-161, the fifth updated Workplace Safety Order, which sets out further guidance and requirements for workplaces operations during the pandemic. Much of the Order reiterates prior guidance. New and updated requirements, though generally minor, are outlined below.
UPDATED STATEWIDE MINIMUM WORKPLACE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
The Order reiterates the need for businesses that require their employees to leave the homes or residences for work to, at a minimum:
- Develop a COVID-19 preparedness plan, consistent with recommendations in Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, developed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration;
- Provide COVID-19 safety training and designate worksite supervisors;
- Conduct daily self-screening protocols; and
- Provide face coverings and cleaning supplies to employees and require coverings to be worn when employees cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation.
The Order lists industry specific guidance for many closed or semi-closed industries and combines almost all prior in-force guidance into a single document. EO 2020-161 also issues new protocols for casinos and racetracks and requires restaurants and bars to enhance measures to encourage social distancing.
MAINTAINING SAFE WORK ENVIRONMENTS IF REMOTE WORK IS NOT FEASIBLE
Because Executive Order 2020-160 (issued the same day!) requires work that can be completed remotely to be completed remotely, this Order clarifies employer obligations when remote work is not possible. Employers must facilitate a safe working environment for employees.
Offices for instance must now do the following, in addition minimum basic requirements described above:
- Assign dedicated entry point(s) for all employees to reduce congestion at the main entrance.
- Increase distancing between employees by spreading out workspaces, staggering workspace usage, restricting non-essential common space, providing visual cues to guide movement and activity.
- Prohibit social gatherings and meetings that do not allow for social distancing or that create unnecessary movement through the office. The Order specifically requires virtual meetings whenever possible.
- Provide disinfecting supplies and require employees wipe down their workstations at least twice daily.
- Notify employees if the employer learns that an individual (including a customer, supplier, or visitor) with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has visited the office.
- Suspend all nonessential visitors.
Many offices and workplaces have implemented safety guidelines consistent with the above for their essential in-office workers and staff. This Order reiterates the importance of social distancing measures and consolidates industry-specific guidance into one document.
INDOOR BUSINESSES MUST ADHERE TO PRIOR RESTRICTIONS
The Order reiterates that stores, restaurants, and other indoor businesses must require face coverings inside their businesses except in the case of medical necessity. The Order also specifically calls out the need for all workplaces to follow social distancing protocol and enhanced cleaning procedures for shared or high touch office/workplace equipment. Employers must maintain a record of implementing and completing the Order’s required training, screening, and notifications.
Restrictions on Restaurants and Bars Remain Largely Unchanged
This Order echoes previously implemented requirements for restaurants and bars. In addition to limiting capacity to 50% of normal seating, restaurants and bars must ensure six feet of separation between parties or groups at different tables or bar tops. Restaurants are prohibited from serving alcoholic drinks via bars service except to those patrons seated at the bar. All employees must wear appropriate face coverings and the restaurant/bar must remind patrons that face coverings are required while moving around the restaurant unless a medical exception applies.
Personal Care Services Must Still Adhere to Social Distancing and Prior Guidance
The Order affirms previously implemented requirements for personal care service businesses (tanning, barbering, cosmetology, body art, etc.). These businesses are required to maintain accurate appointment and walk-in records to aid with contact tracing and post signs at store entrances informing customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick. In-use workstations must be separated by at least six feet and, if feasible, utilize separate workstations with physical barriers.
The Order also limits waiting-area occupancy to the number of individuals who can be present while staying six feet away from one another. Employees and customers must wear a face covering at all times, except when customers are receiving a service that requires its removal.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions about how Executive Order 2020-161 impacts your businesses. Generally, if your business has implemented prior COVID-19 guidance, this Order should not greatly impact your office or workplace. Our dedicated team is continuing to monitor the situation as it develops.
This communication is not intended to constitute legal advice. Since the emergency regulations and guidelines are evolving rapidly and each of your circumstances are unique, we encourage you to reach out to us if you have questions about how this or other COVID-19 related government action.
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At Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC, we’ve been helping municipalities, franchised businesses, employers, and more with their legal needs since 2008. We’d love to learn how we can help you, too.