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May 2020

Executive Order 2020-97 Requires Michigan Companies to Develop a COVID-19 Infectious Disease Plan by June 1, 2020, Or Within Two Weeks of Resuming In-Person Work

Governor Whitmer has built upon prior executive orders and clarified the process for returning to “in-person” work in Michigan via Executive Order 2020-97 (the “Order,” available here). The Order requires that by the later of June 1, 2020, or within two weeks of resuming in-person work, any company operating in Michigan must have its COVID-19 Infectious Disease Plan made readily available to employees, visitors, and any labor unions. 

Meeting the requirements of the Order is important to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid regulatory enforcement. The Order contains employee safeguarding standards and states that it will have the force and effect of agency rules, and will be enforced by agencies that oversee compliance with other health and safety rules. The Order also outlines that a violation of the workplace standards constitutes a failure to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards within the meaning of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, MCL 408.1011. As such, expect that MIOSHA enforcement will include a focus on compliance with this Order; failure to comply may subject an employer to significant fines and penalties.

Businesses have some flexibility in developing their COVID-19 Infectious Disease Plans and differing requirements exist for a variety of business operations, such as those that are primarily conducted outdoors, the construction industry, manufacturing facilities, research laboratories, retail operations, offices and restaurants. 

For example, considerations for developing a COVID-19 Infectious Disease Plan for an office overlap with certain requirements for other business operations and include: (1) ensuring and controlling spatial distancing, the flow of traffic and entrance and exit points; (2) identifying opportunities for reducing shared equipment and tools; (3) developing and implementing employee and visitor screening protocols and associated documentation with appropriate levels of confidentiality; (4) developing COVID-19 specific cleaning protocols; (5) developing a process for ensuring adequate PPE for visitors and employees; (6) ensuring that adequate hand sanitization or hand wash stations are available, using touchless technology to the extent possible; (7) implementing an employee training program with appropriate documentation; and (8) making sure the Infectious Disease Plan is consistent with current executive orders and health-based guidance.

Many of the requirements outlined in EO 2020-97 already have been included in COVID-19 Plans prepared for FBMJ clients, including:

  • Providing COVID-19 training to employees;
  • Conducting daily entry self-screening protocol;
  • Keeping everyone on the worksite premises at least six feet from each other; 
  • Providing non-medical grade face coverings to employees; 
  • Requiring face coverings to be worn when employees cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation; 
  • Increasing facility cleaning and disinfection to limit exposure to COVID-19, especially on high-touch surfaces;  
  • Adopting protocols to clean and disinfect the facility in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace;
  • Establishing a response plan for dealing with a confirmed infection in the workplace; 
  • Restricting business-related travel; and
  • Promoting remote work to the fullest extent possible.

We already are assisting Michigan businesses with COVID-19 Infectious Disease Plans and related documentation. Within three weeks of the first presumptive positive COVID-19 case in Michigan, the attorneys at Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip, PLLC have been developing company specific COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plans for their clients. The FBMJ approach considers the unique sectors, workforce and work environments individual to their respective clients, and tailors a plan to meet that company’s specific needs at locations ranging from south Texas to northern Michigan. To help your business maintain compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-97 and related orders you may contact one of the attorneys listed below: 

Rich Baron 
Ben Fruchey  
Nick Tatro