Michigan Extends its Safety Measures for Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, and Long-Term Care Facilities

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On September 5, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-178, which continues protections offered under previous Executive Order 2020-168 (now rescinded) for frontline workers in grocery stores and pharmacies. Governor Whitmer also issued Executive Order 2020-179, which continues protections for staff and residents of long-term care facilities under previous Executive Order 2020-169 (now rescinded).

Groceries and Pharmacies

Order 2020-178 preserves the following main requirements:

  • Grocery stores and pharmacies must deploy strategies to reduce COVID-19 exposure in their establishments (e.g., providing access to handwashing facilities; disinfecting cash registers, carts, and baskets; encouraging social distancing measures, etc.);
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies provide at least two hours per week of shopping time for vulnerable populations;
  • Food-selling establishments must notify food vendors and other employees within a 12-hour time period if an employee receives a COVID-19 positive test, without disclosing any personal health-related information; and
  • Grocery store and pharmacy employees who are within a vulnerable population must be provided lower-exposure work assignments or given the option to take an unpaid leave of absence with a return to work date of September 30, 2020 or later. These employees are not disqualified from disability benefits or from applying for unemployment benefits.  

Long-Term Care Facilities

Under Order 2020-179, long-term care facilities must continue to:

  • Require strong health and safety precautions (e.g., testing, cleaning and disinfecting, providing PPE, and social distancing);
  • Maintain strong infection control protocols in nursing homes; and
  • Protect residents from eviction and employees from retaliatory action for staying home when exhibiting symptoms.

Both Executive Orders 2020-178 and 179 are effective immediately and remain in place through September 30, 2020. A willful violation of either order constitutes a misdemeanor consistent with MCL 10.33 and MCL 30.405(3).

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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