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May 2020
07
May 07, 2020

Governor Whitmer Issues Michigan’s Safe Start Plan

On May 7, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the details of her MI Safe Start Plan, a plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy in six phases. In conjunction with leaders in health care, business, labor and education, the Governor developed the plan based on six phases of the pandemic, including: (1) uncontrolled growth; (2) persistent spread; (3) flattening; (4) improving; (5) containing; and (6) post-pandemic. 
 
The Safe Start Plan also creates eight regions that will be used to examine whether different parts of Michigan are at different phases and whether regional tailoring to the phases is appropriate.
 
The Governor stated that all of Michigan is at least at phase 3—flattening.
 
Whether we transition from one phase to the next will depend on several factors. As the Governor continues to monitor the disease and its spread, the reopening of Michigan will depend on the growth rate of the disease, the capacity of health care systems and the availability of testing, contact tracing and containment protocols. Moreover, assessment of the state’s positioning will occur at each phase. This will include an analysis of what is happening with the disease, what we need to do to stay safe and what work can be performed. 
 
Specifically, the Governor’s Safe Start Plan outlines the following phases:
 
Phase 1: Uncontrolled Growth. This phase sees an increase in the number of daily new cases, leading to an increasingly accelerating case curve. Consequently, only work that is necessary to protect or sustain life is permitted. Other social and personal activities are significantly limited.
 
Phase 2: Persistent Spread. During this phase, the epidemic is still expanding, but the growth rate begins to gradually decrease. Because of the continued high risk, only work that is necessary to protect or sustain life is permitted. Social and personal activities continue to be restricted.
 
Phase 3: Flattening. This phase occurs when daily cases remain constant for a time period. Additional businesses are available to open with increased safety measures. Social and personal activities are still limited. We are here.
 
Phase 4: Improving. During this phase, overall case levels are still high but the number of new daily cases and deaths has decreased for a period of time. At this time, most businesses will open under strict safety measures. In addition, small groups will be allowed to gather with social distancing.
 
Phase 5: Containing. This phase continues to see a decrease in new cases and deaths. In addition, the number of active cases is less common. Thus, most businesses will be open by this time with strict safety measures. With respect to personal and social requirements, the size of gatherings will be increased and other limitations eased.
 
Phase 6: Post-Pandemic. This is the last phase, meaning that the community spread is not expected to return. At this time, all businesses will be open and minimal to no lasting limitations on personal and/or social activities will be in place.
 
In addition, the Governor provided insight on best practices in the work place. These best practices fall into five categories:
 
  1. Access control. Implementing practices to quickly identify and catalogue potential exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. 

  2. Social distancing. Minimizing levels of close contact within the workplace to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

  3. Sanitation and hygiene. Increasing the frequency and vigor of cleaning practices.

  4. PPE. Ensuring that all employees have access to PPE to keep from contracting or transmitting the COVID-19 virus. 

  5. Contact tracing and isolation. Developing and implementing procedures and protocols on what to do if an employee is suspected to have or is diagnosed with COVID-19.
 
For additional information, please contact Michael Brady, Troy Cumings, Amanda Fielder, Matthew Johnson, Linda Paullin-Hebden or your Warner Attorney.

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