Governor Whitmer Executes a “Stay Home” Rule for Michigan Businesses and Individuals: What You Need to Know!
Earlier this morning, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order No 2020-21, titled “Temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.” This is also being referred to as the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. This is in response to the spread of Covid-19, also known as the Coronavirus. A copy of the Executive Order can be found here.
WHAT DOES THE ORDER SAY?
Generally speaking, this Order mandates that (1) businesses not make their employees leave their homes for work purposes, and (2) people are to stay in their homes, unless otherwise permitted by order to leave. This Order will be in effect for “at least the next three weeks,” until April 13, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. As discussed below, certain activities and businesses, are exempt. The State has also issued a helpful summary (here) that provides the highlights of what the general person can and cannot do. Here are the notable highlights:
WHAT ARE YOU ALLOWED TO DO?
- Go to the grocery store or a restaurant to pick up take-out food.
- Go to the pharmacy to pick up a needed prescriptions.
- Engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, biking.
- Go to the hospital or secure any care necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve your health or the health of a loved one.
- Fill your car with gas.
- Return to Michigan to a home or place of residence from outside the State.
- Leave the State for a home or residence elsewhere.
- Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian for needed medical care.
WHAT ARE YOU NOT ALLOWED TO DO?
- Leave the home to work unless your employer designates you as a critical infrastructure worker.
- Participate in any public gatherings of any size.
- Visit someone in the hospital, nursing home, or other residential care facilities (with limited exceptions).
- Go to the mall or to restaurants.
IS ANYONE EXEMPT FROM THIS ORDER?
Yes. Certain people and businesses are expressly exempt from this Order. Businesses and operations that employ “critical infrastructure workers” may continue in-person operations. These include those in the following sectors:
- health care and public health;
- law enforcement, public safety, and first responders;
- food and agriculture;
- water and wastewater;
- transportation and logistics;
- public works;
- communications and information technology, including news media;
- other community-based government operations and essential functions;
- critical manufacturing;
- hazardous materials;
- financial services;
- chemical supply chains and safety, and
- a defense industrial base.
Also included in this exempted category of people who can continue in-person working are the following:
- child care workers necessary to serve the children or dependents of other critical infrastructure workers;
- workers at properly designated suppliers and distribution centers;
- workers in the insurance industry, but only to the extent that their work cannot be done by telephone or remotely;
- workers and volunteers for businesses or operations that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for disadvantaged or need individuals; and
- workers who perform critical labor union functions, so long as any administration or monitoring be done by telephone or remotely where possible.
WHAT IF YOUR BUSINESS IS NOT EXEMPT?
If any business is not exempted as noted above, that business shall not 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.” This appears to mean that certain employees of any business can still be designated to continue their work, even in-person. Those needed to conduct minimum basic operations for a business include only those 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 must determine which of their workers are necessary to conduct minimum basis operations and so designate them in writing (either via email, public website, or other appropriate means). Such designations may be made orally until and through March 31, 2020.
CAN BUTZEL LONG STILL PROVIDE YOU LEGAL SERVICES?
Yes! The Order expressly states that people may leave their homes to “attend legal proceedings or hearings for essential or emergency purposes as ordered by a court.” And rest assured, Butzel Long fully operational and ready to serve our clients’ needs and answer any questions.
We will continue to analyze this Order and provide answers to your questions as more develops. Additionally, we are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, March 24 on “RIFs, Rightsizing, and Cost Savings During the Coronavirus Crisis,” which will likely touch on many of the questions many of our corporate clients may have. You can register for that Webinar here.
EXECUTIVE ORDER ANALYSIS TEAM
Butzel Long has assembled a team to operate immediately to answer urgent client questions regarding the governor’s Executive Order 2020-21. Those clients looking for answers as to whether they need to close tomorrow and/or how they need to change business practices should schedule a call with our team. The team is prepared to have calls directly with clients this afternoon and beyond to address those most urgent questions. Click here for more information.