Gov. Whitmer signs order to protect consumers during COVID-19


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds a press briefing on coronavirus on April 17, 2020. (Courtesy Office of the Governor)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Sunday to reduce the exposure of COVID-19 for both consumers and employees. It will also provide temporary relief by suspending certain licensing requirements and regulations for food service industries.

The order strongly encourages customers to wear masks or a face covering when entering a food establishment. Grocery stores and pharmacies must allow at least two hours per week of shopping time to vulnerable or at risk people. Also, if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the business must notify other employees, without interfering on private personal-health related information of that employee.

Also, the executive order outlines strategies food establishments must take to reduce possible exposure of COVID-19 to their customers or other employees:

  • Require checkout employees to wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief.
  • Ensure that both employees and customers remain at least 6 feet apart to the maximum extent possible.
  • Close self-serve prepared food stations such as salad bars, and eliminate free samples and tasting stations.
  • Adopt procedures to meet the environmental cleaning guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as cleaning and disinfecting frequent touch-points throughout the day (sale terminals at registers, shopping carts and shopping baskets.)
  • Prohibit employees who are sick from reporting to work and send employees home if they display symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Accommodate employees who fall within a vulnerable population by providing lower-exposure work assignments or giving them the option to take an unpaid leave of absence with a return date coinciding with the end of the states of emergency and disaster.
  • Develop and implement a daily screening program, as described herein, for all staff upon or just prior to reporting to work sites.

“While Michiganders fight this virus, we must continue to take aggressive action to reduce exposure and prevent a second spike in cases,” Whitmer said. “This is not the time to slow our efforts; we must continue to be smart. By establishing these guidelines, we can protect Michigan families and our frontline workers. When we come together, we can slow the spread of this virus and save lives.”

Due to the increased strain on Michigan’s food service industry, local health departments, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Governor has extended certain deadlines for forms of licensing and registration, according to a press release sent to News 8.

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