Earlier today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 (“Temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life”), which becomes effective on March 24, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. and continues through April 13, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Subject to several exceptions, the Executive Order requires individuals currently living within the State of Michigan to “stay at home or at their place of residence,” and prohibits “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household.”
The Executive Order further provides that “no person or entity shall operate a business or 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.” Workers necessary to sustain or protect life are defined as “critical infrastructure workers” pursuant to federal guidance issued on March 19, 2020, which includes “some workers in each of the following sectors:”
(Note: Because this list is not exhaustive, employers should review the federal guidance for further information.)
Childcare workers are also defined as “critical infrastructure workers,” but only to the extent necessary to serve the children or dependents of “critical infrastructure workers.” And certain suppliers and distribution centers are likewise exempt from the Order to the extent they are involved in supporting or facilitating the work of “critical infrastructure workers.”
Significantly, businesses who do not qualify for an exemption are still permitted to conduct “minimum basic operations,” which means they can allow only those 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.”
“Businesses and operations must determine which of their workers are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations and inform such workers of that designation. Businesses and operations must make such designations in writing, whether by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means. Such designations, however, may be made orally until March 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm.”
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