Michigan Moves to Stage 4 of the Safe State Plan, Setting the Stage for Most Businesses to Reopen

On June 1, 2020, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued an Executive Order moving the entire state of Michigan to Stage 4 of the Michigan Safe Start Plan and setting the stage for most businesses to resume operations.

The following are critical takeaways for employers regarding the Order:

Any work that is capable of being performed remotely must continue being performed remotely.

For work that cannot be performed remotely, however, any business permitted to resume operations that requires its employees to leave their home or place of residence for work remains subject to the previously established workplace safeguards. As detailed in EO 2020-97, all business must, among other requirements:

  • Designate one or more worksite supervisors to implement, monitor, and report on the COVID-19 control strategies developed under the business’s required COVID-19 preparedness and response plan. The supervisor must remain on site at all times when employees are present on site. The Order allows businesses to designate an on-site employee to perform the supervisory role.
  • Provide COVID-19 training to employees that covers, at minimum:
    • Workplace infection-control practices
    • The proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Steps the employee must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19
    • How to report unsafe work conditions
  • Conduct a daily entry self-screening protocol for all employees or contractors entering the workplace, including, at minimum, a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19.
  • Provide non-medical-grade face coverings to their employees.
  • Require face coverings to be worn when employees cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation from other individuals in the workplace.
  • Keep everyone on the worksite premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible, including through the use of ground markings, signs, and physical barriers, as appropriate.
  • Make cleaning supplies available to employees upon entry and at the worksite and provide time for employees to wash hands frequently or to use hand sanitizer.
  • Encourage employees to use PPE and hand sanitizer on public transportation.
  • Restrict business-related travel for employees to essential travel only.
  • Adopt additional infection-control measures that are reasonable in light of the work performed at the worksite and the rate of infection in the surrounding community.
  • Adopt protocols to clean and disinfect the facility in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.
  • Establish a response plan for dealing with a confirmed infection in the workplace, including protocols for sending employees home and for temporary closures of all or part of the worksite to allow for deep cleaning.
  • When an employee is identified with a confirmed case of COVID-19, within the first 24 hours, notify both the local public health department and any coworkers, contractors, or suppliers who may have come into contact with the person with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Certain business sectors are subject to more specific requirements as outlined in EO 2020-97.

Face Coverings are Still Required

In addition to following social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including remaining at least six feet from individuals outside one’s household, any individual capable of medically tolerating a face covering over their nose and mouth is still required to do so when in any enclosed public space.

Individuals may be required to temporarily remove their face coverings for identification purposes, and also remove a face covering to eat or drink when seated at a restaurant or bar.

Businesses and building owners are permitted to deny entry or access to anyone who refuses to comply with the face covering requirement.  If businesses or building owners exercise this right, they will not be subject to a claim that they have violated the covenant of quiet enjoyment, a claim of frustration of purpose, or similar claims for denying entry or access.

Indoor social gatherings and events among those not part of a single household are permitted, but cannot exceed 10 people.  Outdoor social gatherings and events among those not part of a single household are permitted, but only to the extent that:

  • The gathering or event does not exceed 100 people, and
  • People not part of the same household maintain six feet of distance from one another.

Unless prohibited by local regulations, outdoor parks and recreational facilities may open.

Such parks and facilities, however, must make any reasonable modifications necessary to enable employees and patrons to maintain six feet of distance from one another, and any areas where six feet of separation cannot be maintained must be closed.

Further, public outdoor swimming pools may open on June 8, 2020, unless otherwise prohibited by local regulation. But pools are restricted to 50% capacity.  Indoor public swimming pools must remain closed.

Subject to certain restrictions, restaurants and like entities may reopen.

Unless prohibited by local regulation, on June 8, 2020, restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and like places may be open to the public, provided they adhere to certain requirements. Specifically, Indoor and outdoor seating is subject to a 50% capacity restriction. Moreover, such entities must ensure social distancing of six feet between different tables, along with other requirements outlined in EO 2020-97.

The following businesses, operations, and activities are also permitted to remain open/reopen:

  • Day camps for children subject to guidance issued by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
  • Libraries and museums subject to the rules governing retail stores described in Executive Order 2020-97.
  • Retail stores that were previously closed (or that were open only by appointment under the same order) must remain closed to the public (or open only by appointment) until June 4, 2020.  Such stores may then resume normal operations, subject to local regulation and to previously established capacity constraints and workplace standards.

The following businesses and operations remain closed to members of the public for the time being:

  • Residential, travel, and troop camps.
  • Indoor theaters, cinemas, and performance venues.
  • Indoor gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, sports facilities, exercise facilities, exercise studios, and similar centers.
  • Facilities offering non-essential personal care services, including hair, nail, tanning, massage, traditional spa, tattoo, body art, and piercing services, and similar personal care services that involve close contact of persons.
  • Casinos, racetracks, and Millionaire Parties licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
  • Indoor services or facilities, or outdoor services or facilities involving close contact of persons, for amusement or other recreational or entertainment purposes, such as amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, indoor dance areas, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.

These restrictions do not apply to:

  • Outdoor fitness classes, athletic practices, training sessions, or games, provided that coaches, spectators, and participants not from the same household maintain six feet of distance from one another at all times during such activities, and that equipment and supplies are shared to the minimum extent possible and are subject to frequent and thorough disinfection and cleaning.
  • Services necessary for medical treatment as determined by a licensed medical provider.
  • Health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities.
  • Crisis shelters or similar institution.
  • Food courts inside the secured zones of airports.
  • Employees, contractors, vendors, or suppliers who enter, use, or occupy the above-bulleted businesses and operations.


Any willful violation of the Order is a misdemeanor offense pursuant to the Emergency Powers of Governor, MCL 10.33 and Emergency Management Act, MCL 30.405.

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.