November 26, 2020

Volume X, Number 331

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Michigan’s Governor Extends Shelter In Place Order, Eases Some Restrictions

On April 24, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-59, which extends the duration of the measures contained in her previous “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders – Executive Order 2020-21 and Executive Order 2020-42 – but eases some of those restrictions. It is effective immediately and continues through May 15, 2020.

Specifically, the new order amends certain previous restrictions in an effort to gradually resume in-person work and activities that were previously suspended. 

Changes for Individuals

Gov. Whitmer’s new order keeps in place the original “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order’s requirement that all individuals are to remain at home or in their place of residence except for certain limited activities. In addition to the previous permissible activities, the new order permits boating (including power boating) and golfing as recreational activities, and it lifts the ban on traveling between residences within the state. Individuals are now also permitted to attend addiction recovery meetings, provided that there are no more than 10 people in attendance.

One significant change is that individuals, starting April 26, must wear a face covering (e.g., homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief) in any enclosed public space. Importantly, the protections against discrimination in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibit discriminatory practices, policies and customs based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status, apply to those who wear a mask under this new order.

Certain Businesses Permitted to Resume In-Person Operations

The new order’s restrictions on work continues to be construed broadly to prohibit in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life; however, it now permits businesses that employ workers in the following categories (referred to as “resumed activities”) to perform in-person operations:

  • Workers who process or fulfill remote orders for goods for delivery or curbside pickup
  • Workers who perform bicycle maintenance or repair
  • Workers for garden stores, nurseries, and lawn care, landscaping, and pest control operations
  • Maintenance workers and groundskeepers that are necessary to maintain safety and sanitation of places of outdoor recreation not otherwise closed under Executive Order 2020-43 or any subsequent related order, provided that those workers do not provide goods, equipment, supplies or services to individuals
  • Workers for moving or storage operations

These businesses, however, must abide by the following additional social distancing measures when performing business operation in-person and must:

  • Ban gatherings of any size in which people cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from one another
  • Limit in-person interaction with clients and patrons to the maximum extent possible
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks as appropriate for the activity being performed
  • Adopt protocols to limit the sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible and the frequent cleaning of tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces

Reduced Restrictions on Businesses and Operations Open for In-Person Sales

The new order also eases restrictions for stores that remain open for in-person sales, including grocery and convenience stores. While stores must still adhere to the applicable occupancy limits detailed in Gov. Whitmer’s previous order, stores may continue to sell goods other than necessary supplies if the sale of such goods is in the ordinary course of business. As such, the new order no longer requires large stores to close areas that are dedicated to carpet or flooring, furniture, garden centers and plant nurseries, and paint. It also eliminates the restriction on advertising or promoting goods that are not groceries, medical supplies, or items that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and basic operation of residences. All stores, however, must consider establishing curbside pickup to reduce in-store traffic and mitigate outdoor lines.

© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 119
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Keith Brodie Labor & Employment Attorney
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Traditional labor lawyer and employment law counselor Keith Brodie represents the interests of employers in Michigan and across the country. Personable, detail- and business-oriented when rendering critical legal advice, Keith’s willingness to listen, combined with his strategic legal thinking, allows him to serve client interests while building rapport and consensus.

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Alex focuses his practice on assisting employers facing various employment litigation issues in federal and state courts. Specifically, he counsels and represents employers in a range of actions involving harassment, retaliation, discrimination, wrongful termination, and wage and hour claims.

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Chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Department for two decades, Ken Yerkes has spent over 30 years successfully fighting for his clients' rights and business objectives at the bargaining table, in arbitration and federal and state court, as well as in plants across the country through proactive training, counseling and union avoidance campaigns.

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John T.L. Koenig is a partner in the Labor & Employment Department of Barnes & Thornburg LLP. He maintains a national, full-service practice representing management exclusively in all aspects of labor and employment law.

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