COVID-19 Update: New Rules for Working Safely

Safety Rules for Workplaces Revised (A little bit)



COVID-19 Update: “You Can Now Get a Haircut” Edition previously provided a detailed list of what is required to reopen for work in Michigan. A few new workplace safeguards under Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-145 were released this week.  If you reviewed the prior blog post, you do not need to read all the below. Just quickly skim below to see updates, which have been highlighted (all employers must follow the list that immediately follows and then different rules are set forth by industry). Two changes apply to all work places: (1) communication/training must be offered in the primary language common to the work place and (2) face coverings must be worn in shared spaces at work. There are also updates for bars/restaurants.

The following must be completed by all organizations which have employees leaving home to perform work:

Develop a Plan.  Develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan within two weeks of restarting in-person work.  The plan must be readily available to employees, unions, and customers (via website, network, or hard copy).  The Plan should follow the OSHA Guidance I have referenced in prior blog posts.
Designated Supervisor.  Designate a worksite supervisor(s) who is on-site at all times when employees are present to be responsible for the Plan.
Training.  Train employees on at least the following:
  • Workplace infection-control practices;
  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Steps to take to notify the business of any symptoms or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19;
  • How to report unsafe working conditions;
Communication. Provide any communication and training in the primary languages common in the employee population. Posters in the primary language shall be provided that encourage staying home when sick, set forth sneeze/cough etiquette, and set forth proper hand hygiene.
Screening.  Conduct a daily entry self-screening for all employees/contractors entering the workplace. At a minimum, the employer must have a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to COVID-19.
Social Distancing. Keep everyone at least 6 feet apart and use markings, signs, and physical barriers, as appropriate.
Face Coverings. Provide non-medical grade face coverings to employees. Require face coverings when employees cannot consistently maintain 6 feet of separation in the workplace. Consider face shields when employees cannot consistently maintain 3 feet of distancing. Additionally, require face coverings in shared spaces, including during in-person meetings and in restrooms and hallways. [note: this was previously required in offices but now applies to all workplaces]
Cleaning. Clean and disinfect to limit exposure to COVID-19, especially on high-touch surfaces (e.g., door handles), parts, products, and shared equipment.
Cleaning if Infection. Adopt protocols to clean and disinfect the facility if there is a positive case in the workplace.
Cleaning Supplies. Make cleaning supplies available to employees upon entry and at the worksite and provide time for employees to wash hands/sanitize often.
Positive Case Reporting. If there is a positive case –
  • Immediately notify the local public health department, and
  • Within 24 hours, notify any co-workers/contractors/suppliers who may have come into contact with the person.
An employee with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 can only return to the workplace after they are no longer infectious per CDC guidelines and they have been released from any quarantine or isolation required by the local health department.
No Retaliation.  Prohibit discharging, disciplining, or retaliating against employees who stay home or who leave work due to infection risk.
Response Plan. Establish a response plan for dealing with a confirmed infection at work, including protocols for sending employees home and for temporary closures for deep cleaning.
Travel. Restrict business-related travel to essential travel only.
PPE. Encourage employees to use personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer on public transportation.
Remote Work. Promote remote work to the fullest extent possible.
Additional Measures. Adopt additional infection-control measures that are reasonable due to work performed and the rate of infection in the community.


Businesses or operations that occur mostly outside must also:

Prohibit gatherings. Prohibit gatherings of any size where a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained.
Limit Interaction. Limit in-person interaction with clients and patrons to the maximum extent possible, and prohibit any such interaction in which people cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from one another.
PPE. Provide personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face coverings as appropriate.
Limit Sharing of Tools.  Limit the sharing of tools and equipment and ensure frequent cleaning/disinfection of tools, equipment, and surfaces.


Construction operations must also:

Screenings. Conduct a daily entry screening protocol for all individuals entering a worksite, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to COVID-19 with, if possible, temperature screening.
Entry Point. Create dedicated entry point(s) at every worksite, if possible, for daily screening or issue stickers (or other indicators) to workers to show that they received a screening that day before entrance.
Instructions on PPE. Provide instructions for the distribution of personal protective equipment and designate locations for soiled masks.
Gloves. Encourage or require the use of work gloves, as appropriate.
Choke Points. Identify choke points and high-risk areas where workers must stand near one another and control access (including through physical barriers) to maintain social distancing.
Handwashing. Ensure sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations are easily accessible at the worksite.
Notice of Exposure. Notify contractors/owners of any confirmed COVID-19 cases among workers at the worksite.
Restrict Site Movement. Restrict unnecessary movement between project sites.
Minimize Contact.  Create protocols for minimizing personal contact upon delivery of materials to the worksite.


Manufacturing facilities must also:

Screening. Create and conduct a daily entry screening protocol for all individuals entering the facility (including a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19 and temperature screening as soon as no-touch thermometers can be obtained).
Entry Point. Create a dedicated entry point(s) at every facility for daily screening and ensure barriers are in place prevent bypassing of same.
Suspend Non-Essential Visits. Suspend all non-essential in-person visits, including tours.
Training. Train workers about:
  • Routes by which the virus causing COVID-19 is transmitted;
  • The distance that the virus can travel in the air, as well as the time it remains viable in the air and on environmental surfaces; and
  • The use of PPE, including the proper steps for putting it on and taking it off.
Reduce Congestion.  Reduce congestion in common spaces wherever practicable (ie, close buffets within cafeterias and kitchens, require individuals sit at least 6 feet from one another, place markings on the floor to allow social distancing while standing in line, offer boxed food via delivery or pick-up points, and reduce cash payments).
Rotational Shifts. Implement rotational shift schedules where possible (for example, increasing the number of shifts, or alternating days or weeks).
Stagger Start and Meal Times. Stagger start times and meal times where possible.
Barriers. Install temporary physical barriers, where practicable, between work stations and cafeteria tables.
Minimize Personal Contact. Create protocols for minimizing personal contact upon delivery of materials to the facility.
Limit Sharing.  Adopt protocols to limit the sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible.
Hand-washing. Ensure there are sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations at the worksite to enable easy access by workers, and discontinue use of hand dryers.
Notice of Exposure. Notify plant leaders and potentially exposed individuals upon identification of a positive case of COVID-19 in the facility, and maintain a central log for symptomatic workers or workers who received a positive test for COVID-19.
Send Workers Home. Send potentially exposed individuals home upon identification of a positive case of COVID-19 in the facility.
Self-Reporting. Require workers to self-report to plant leaders as soon as possible after developing symptoms of COVID-19.
Shut Down and Clean. Shut areas of the manufacturing facility for cleaning and disinfection if a worker goes home because he or she is displaying symptoms of COVID-19.


Retail operations performing in-store sales, libraries, and museums must also:
Communications. Have communications materials for customers (signs/pamphlets) to inform of practices and precautions to prevent infection.
Lines. Establish lines to regulate entry with markings for patrons to stand at least 6 feet apart from one another. Stores should also explore alternatives, including allowing customers to wait in their cars for a text message or phone call.
Restrictions on Numbers.
Unless located in Regions 6 or 8 (“Up North”; regional map here p.3):
Less than 50,000 square feet of customer floor space: Limit the number of people in the store (including employees) to 25% of the total occupancy limits established by the fire marshal.
More than 50,000 square feet:
  • Limit the number of customers in the store at one time (excluding employees) to 4 people per 1,000 square feet of customer floor space, and
  • Create at least 2 hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations (over 60, pregnant women, and chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease).
Signage about Face Covering and Illness.  Post signs at the entrance informing customers of the legal obligation to wear a face covering and instructing customers not to enter if they are or have been recently sick.
Space Setup. Design space that encourages employees and customers to maintain 6 feet of distancing.
Physical Barriers. Install barriers at checkout and service points that require interaction (such as plexiglass or tables as appropriate).
Enhanced Cleaning/Sanitizing. Clean/sanitize high touch areas (such as restrooms, credit card machines, keypads, carts).
Training. Train employees on cleaning procedures (including cashiers cleaning between customers) and managing symptomatic customers upon story entry.
Notice of Exposure. Notify employees if the employer learns that a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has visited the store.


Office operations must:
Entry Point.  Dedicate an entry point to reduce congestion at main entrance.
Visual Indicators for Spacing.  Provide visuals to indicate proper spacing outside the building in case of congestion.
Reduce Entry Congestion. Take steps to reduce congestion and ensure effective screening (such as staggered start times and rotational scheduling).
Face Coverings. Require face coverings in shared spaces, including in-person meetings, restrooms, and hallways. [this requirement now applies to all workplaces, not just offices]
Increase Distancing. Spread out work-spaces, stagger workspace usage, restrict non-essential common space (such as cafeterias), provide visual cues to guide movement (such as restricting elevator capacity with markings).
No Social Gatherings. Prohibit gatherings and meetings that do not allow for social distancing or create unnecessary movement in the office. Use virtual meetings when possible.
Disinfectant. Provide disinfecting supplies and require that employees wipe down work stations two times per day.
Signage. Post signs about the importance of personal hygiene.
Disinfect Surfaces.  Disinfect high touch surfaces (such as whiteboard markers, restrooms, handles) and minimize shared items (such as pens, whiteboards, remotes).
Cleaning if Symptoms. Create and communicate cleaning protocols when employees are sent home with symptoms.
Notice of Exposure. Notify employees if an employer learns that someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has visited the office.
Visitors. Suspend non-essential visitors.
Travel.  Restrict non-essential travel, including in-person conferences.


Due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases, Executive Order 2020-143 ordered that indoor service (outside Regions 6 and 8) be suspended for food/bar establishments that generate more than 70% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Outdoor bar operations are still permitted for these businesses. If offering outdoor service, customers may only enter the establishment if walking inside in order to access the outdoor area or to use the restroom and must wear a face covering when walking inside.

Restaurants and bars must:

Capacity. Limit capacity to 50% of normal seating.
Six-Feet Apart.  Require 6 feet of separation between parties or groups at different tables or bar tops.
Face Coverings. Require customers to wear a face-covering except when seated at their table or bar top (unless medically unable to do so).
Remain Seated. Customers must remain seated, except to enter/exit, order food, or use the restroom. This rule does not apply to customers ordering drinks for off-site consumption (which is now permitted).
Ordering Drinks. Sell alcoholic beverages only via table service (ie, not at the bar unless the customer is seated at the bar).
No Congregating. Prohibit access to common areas where people can congregate, dance, or mingle.
Communication. Create communications for customers (e.g., signs, pamphlets) to inform them of changes to restaurant or bar practices and precautions that are being taken.
Close Waiting Area.  Ask customers to wait in cars for a call when their table is ready.
Close Self-Service.  Close self-serve food or drink areas (such as buffets, salad bars, and drink stations).
Markings.  Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signage on walls, to ensure 6-foot distancing in lines.
Signage.  Post signs at store entrance informing customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick and instructing customers to wear face coverings until seated.
Masks and Gloves. Require hosts and staff to wear face coverings in the dining area. Require employees to wear face coverings and gloves in the kitchen area when handling food, consistent with FDA guidelines.
Limit Sharing. Limit shared items for customers (e.g., condiments, menus) and clean high-contact areas after each customer (e.g., tables, chairs, menus, payment tools, condiments).
Training. Train employees on:
  • Appropriate use of PPE with food safety guidelines;
  • Food safety health protocols (e.g., cleaning between customers); and
  • Managing symptomatic customers upon entry or in the restaurant.


Notice of Exposure. Notify employees if the employer learns that an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has visited the premises.
Closing.  Close immediately if an employee shows multiple symptoms of COVID-19 (defined as either (1) new onset of a cough; (2) new onset of chest tightness or (3) two of the following: fever (measured or subjective), chills, rigors (shivers/sweats), myalgia (aches/pains), headache, sore throat, or taste/smell disorders. Perform a deep clean, consistent with guidance from the FDA and CDC. Such cleaning may occur overnight.
Physical Barriers. Install physical barriers (ie, sneeze guards and partitions) at cash registers, bars, host stands, and other areas where maintaining 6-foot distance is difficult.
Limit Employees.  As possible, limit the number of employees in shared spaces to maintain a 6-foot distance.


Any outpatient health care facility, including physician offices, dental facilities, or veterinary services must:

Signs. Post signs at the entrance instructing patients to wear a face-covering when inside.
Waiting Areas. Limit and mark waiting-areas (or remove seats) so that people remain 6 feet away from one another and ask customers, if possible, to wait in cars for their appointment. Hand sanitizer and face coverings must be placed at the entrance.
Sign-In. Enable contactless sign-in (e.g., sign-in on phone app) as soon as practicable.
Special Hours. Add special hours for highly vulnerable patients (including the elderly and those with chronic conditions).
Screening. Conduct a common screening protocol for all patients, including a temperature check and questions about COVID-19 symptoms.
PPE. Require employees to use personal protective equipment in accordance with guidance from the CDC and OSHA.
Face Coverings. Require patients to wear a face-covering when in the facility, except as necessary for identification or to conduct an examination or procedure.
Physical Barriers. Install physical barriers at sign-in, temperature screening, or other points of personal interaction (e.g., plexiglass, cardboard, tables).
Telemedicine. Use telehealth and telemedicine to the greatest extent possible.
Limit Appointments. Limit the number of appointments to maintain social distancing and allow adequate time between appointments for cleaning.
Special Procedures. if Illness. Use specialized procedures for patients with high temperatures or respiratory symptoms (such as special entrances or having them wait in their car) to avoid exposing other patients in the waiting room.
Cleaning and Disinfection. Deep clean examination rooms after patients with respiratory symptoms and clean rooms between all patients. Establish procedures for building disinfection in accordance with CDC guidance if it is suspected that an employee or patient has COVID-19 or if there is a confirmed case.


All in-home service providers (such as cleaning services, painters, and repair-services) must:
Daily Health Screening. Require that employees conduct a daily health screening prior to going to the job site.
Records. Keep accurate appointment records for clients, including date and time of service, to aid with contact tracing.
Limit Interaction. Use electronic communication when possible to limit direct interaction with customers.
Home Inquiry. Prior to entering the home, ask if the customer or anyone in the household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, or has had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID -19. If yes, then the appointment must be rescheduled.
Limit Employees. Limit employees in the home to the minimum needed to timely complete the work.
Gloves. Wear gloves when practical and per CDC Guidance.


Businesses that provide hair, nail, barber, tanning, cosmetology, body art, massage or other similar personal care services were permitted to reopen on June 10 in Regions 6 and 8. They may reopen statewide on June 15. They must:
Records. Keep accurate appointment and walk-in records with date and time of service, name of client, and contact information, to aid with contact tracing.
Signs. Post signs at entrance informing customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick.
Increase Distancing. Place workstations at least 6 feet from one another and, if possible, separate workstations with physical barriers (such as plexiglass or curtains).
Waiting Areas. Limit and mark waiting-areas (or remove seats) so that people remain 6 feet away from one another and ask customers, if possible, to wait in cars for their appointment. Additionally remove shared items that cannot be disinfected (such as magazines).
Self-Service. End all self-service refreshments.
PPE. Require employees to properly use personal protective equipment in accordance with guidance from the CDC and OSHA.
Face Coverings. Require employees and customers to wear a face-covering at all times. Customers may temporarily remove a face covering when receiving a service that requires its removal (in which case the employee must wear a face shield or goggles in addition to their face covering).
Physical Barriers. Install physical barriers (such as sneeze guards and partitions) where maintaining 6-feet of physical distance is difficult (ie, cashier/checkout).
Local Health Department. Cooperate with the local public health department if a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified in the facility.


Sports and entertainment venues (such as arenas, theaters, concert halls, stadiums, amusement parks, bowling alleys, night clubs, skating rinks, and trampoline parks) are now permitted to open in Regions 6 and 8. They must:

Signs. Post signs outside of entrances informing customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick.
Face Coverings. Encourage or require patrons to wear face coverings.
Crowd Measures. Establish crowd-limiting methods to measure the flow of patrons (such as line up via digital methods, delineated waiting areas, parking instructions, or markings on ground or placement of cones).
Physical Dividers. Use physical dividers, floor markings, signs, and other physical and visual cues to maintain 6 feet of distance between people.
Limit Seating Capacity. Limit seating to ensure 6 feet of distancing between non-household members.
Exit Procedures. For sports and entertainment facilities, establish safe exit procedures (such as dismissing by group).
Vulnerable Populations. For sports and entertainment facilities, as possible, adopt specified entry and exit times and designated entrances/exits for vulnerable populations.
Train Employees. Train employees (such as ushers) who interact with patrons on: (1) monitoring and enforcing compliance with the facility’s COVID-19 protocols; (2) helping patrons who become symptomatic; and (3) disinfecting high-touch surfaces frequently during events or, as necessary, throughout the day.
Disinfect and Clean. Disinfect and deep clean after each event or, as necessary, throughout the day.
Food. Close self-serve food or drink options.


Gyms, fitness centers, recreation centers, sports facilities, exercise facilities, and exercise studios were permitted to reopen in Regions 6 and 8 on June 10. These facilities must:

Signs. Post signs outside of entrance informing individuals not to enter if they are or have recently been sick.

Records. Maintain accurate records, including date and time of event, name of customer/patron, and contact information, to aid with contact tracing.

Distancing. To the extent possible, configure workout stations to enable 10 feet of distance between individuals during exercise sessions (or 6 feet of distance with barriers).

Reduce Class Size. Reduce class sizes to enable at least 6 feet of separation between individuals.

Cleaning. Provide cleaning products throughout the gym or exercise facility for use on equipment. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water, or similar disinfectant must be readily available. Exercise equipment must be disinfected immediately after use. Post signs encouraging patrons to disinfect equipment if it is their responsibility. Public areas, locker rooms, and restrooms must be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

Ventilation and Outdoor Air. Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly. As much as possible, increase introduction and circulation of outdoor air by opening windows and doors, using fans, or other methods.

Close Steam Rooms/Saunas.

Record Keeping & Enforcement

Employers must maintain records of training provided to employees, daily screenings, and confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to the health department and employees.
Willful violations are a misdemeanor. The Order also states that those wearing face coverings are provided the same protections against discrimination as those offered under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (Michigan’s anti-discrimination statute).
There are also specific rules for laboratory operations, long-term care facilities, and meat/poultry processing plants.

As always the above is not legal advice.