Michigan Governor Issues Updated “Safe Start” and Workplace Safety Executive Orders

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Miller Canfield

On September 25, 2020, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Orders 2020-183 and 2020-184. EO 2020-183 permits certain indoor sport venues, theaters, and entertainment facilities to reopen, with capacity limitations, on October 9, 2020.

EO 2020-184 replaces EO 2020-175, the most recent Executive Order addressing "Safeguards to Protect Michigan Workers from Covid-19" and updates guidance on workplace safety, recognizing that previously closed businesses are slated to reopen statewide on October 9, 2020. Otherwise, EO 2020-184 does not make substantive changes to previously stated safety requirements except that businesses no longer have to suspend all non-essential visitors. It also requires theaters, entertainment facilities, and sports venues that are allowed to reopen on October 9 to maintain records showing the date and time of entry, names, and contact information for each patron to aid in contact-tracing, and deny entry to any patron who will not provide, at a minimum, their name and phone number. Such venues must also mandate that patrons wear masks whenever in the facility. The same rules apply to gyms and exercise facilities. 

EO 2020-183 replaces prior "Safe Start" Executive Orders (EOs 2020-176, 2020-180, and 2020-181) and makes the following changes, effective October 9, 2020:

  • Indoor theaters, cinemas, and performance venues are permitted to reopen statewide, with the following capacity limitations:
    • Indoor gatherings and events will be limited to 20 people per 1,000 square feet of space, or 20% of fixed seating capacity, but in no case more than 500 people.
    • In Regions 6 and 8, indoor gatherings and events will be limited to 25 people per 1,000 square feet of indoor space or 25% of fixed seating capacity, again not to exceed 500 people. (Click here to see a map of the Regions.)
    • For all indoor gatherings of more than 10 people, masks are required.
  • Outdoor social events of up to 1,000 people will be permitted, but only with limited capacity of 30% of fixed seating or 30 people per 1,000 square feet of event space, with an overall maximum of 1,000 people in attendance.
  • Recreational facilities such as amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, indoor dance areas, roller rinks, ice rinks, trampoline parks, carnival or amusement rides, can also reopen on October 9, 2020.

EO 2020-183 reiterates the requirement that, except in Regions 6 and 8, any work capable of being performed remotely (i.e., without the worker leaving his or her home or place of residence) must be performed remotely. Although not required, in Regions 6 and 8, any work capable of being performed remotely should be performed remotely.

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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