The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a multitude of changes on a national, state, and local level. Currently, Ingham County has 75 confirmed cases of coronavirus, despite the Stay Home-Stay Safe Order. In these uncertain times, the Ingham County Health Department has provided updates, guidance, and additional restrictions designed to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19, particularly for Michigan businesses.
The Health Department has also issued a supplemental order, which is designed to govern those businesses that have remained open under the terms of the Governor’s quarantine order. Essential businesses in Ingham County are now required to implement daily screening for those staff reporting to work. This screening must include questioning staff regarding any potential symptoms they are experiencing, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Employers are encouraged to use touchless thermometers to confirm temperature reports if possible. Employers must also question essential employees about whether they have had any contact with a diagnosed coronavirus patient in the last 14 days, as well as whether the employee has travelled outside Michigan in that time period.
Employees who answer “yes” to any of the screening questions must be excluded. Employees who are symptomatic, but do not have a fever, must be excluded for 72 hours at minimum. For an employee to return to work, symptoms must have improved, and at least 7 days must have passed since symptoms first appeared. Employees who have had close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 must be excluded for at least 14 days, as must employees who have travelled outside Michigan. Employees whose travel outside Michigan was due to commuting from a home outside Michigan are exempt from exclusion for travel alone.
Employers must also develop a social distancing plan for their essential employees. Those guidelines must require employees to maintain at least 6 feet from customers or other employees. Employers are also required to limit the capacity of their facilities to protect public health through the use of signs, contact barriers, entrance limitations, and specialized hours. The Health Department’s order must also be published at all entrances so that it is visible to employees and customers.
The order was effective as of 5:00PM on March 27th, and continues through midnight on April 13th. Violations of the order is a misdemeanor, with penalties including a fine of $200 and up to 90 days in jail.
In these uncertain times, it is important that employers take steps to meaningfully restrict their operations to the bare minimum. By doing so, employers will help to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and eliminate the need for further restrictions in the future.
If you are a Michigan owner who needs assistance in complying with state and local business restrictions, please do not hesitate to give our office a call at (888) 211-5798. Our experienced employment law team at Grewal Law PLLC is ready to assist you.