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

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issued Executive Order 2020-178, which continues protections offered under previous Executive Order 2020-168 (now rescinded) for frontline workers in grocery stores and pharmacies.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continues protections for staff and residents of long-term care facilities under previous Executive Order 2020-169 (now rescinded).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).

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.