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Blogs | April 2, 2020
4 minute read
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Michigan Counties Issue COVID-Related Health Orders

On March 23, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 (“Order”) implementing a shelter in place order throughout the state of Michigan with few exceptions for business deemed essential to remain open. In response to the Governor’s Order, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Oakland County, Lenawee County and Ingham County issued health orders requiring the implementation of protocols and procedures for businesses that remain open as essential businesses under the Governor’s Order. This blog summarizes the five county orders. 

All five county orders require businesses that remain open under the Governor’s Order develop and implement screening for their staff. The county orders also require that businesses post or publish a copy of the county order at the entrance of their facility and to members of the public. The Wayne County and Washtenaw County orders took effect on March 26, 2020. The Oakland County order took effect March 25, 2020. The Lenawee County order took effect on March 28, 2020. The Ingham County order took effect on March 29, 2020.

Wayne County Order

Businesses operating in Wayne County must include the following as part of their screening procedures:

  • Asking employees if they have symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or diarrhea.
  • If a touchless thermometer is available, the order strongly recommends use of the thermometer in place of verbal confirmation from the employee.
  • Asking employees if they have had close contact with a diagnosed COVID-19 patient in last 14 days.
  • Asking employees if they have traveled by plane in past 14 days.

Any employee answering “yes,” to any of these questions is not permitted on the worksite and must self-isolate or quarantine at home for these specific periods:

  • A minimum of seven days after symptoms first appeared. Before the employee can return to work, the employee must have three days without a fever and improvement in respiratory symptoms.
  • 14 days if close contact with a patient or travel.

This 14-day quarantine does not apply to hospitals and other organizations that employ health care workers, as listed in the county order.

These businesses must also implement social distancing plans for employees, customers and other authorized visitors. They must also limit capacity inside their facilities to allow for such social distancing by using barriers, signs, special business hours and limiting entrance to the facility.

Washtenaw County Order

The Washtenaw County order is similar to the Wayne County order in its requirements for screening and exclusion/isolation of employees who answer “yes” to the screening questions. The order also recommends use of a touchless thermometer if available. Similarly, the order requires implementation of social distancing and appropriate other measures to enforce the social distancing required, and excludes health care facilities.

Oakland County Order

The Oakland County order has similar requirements for screening questions, including “strongly recommending” use of a touchless thermometer in place of verbal confirmation regarding lack of fever. Any employees answering “yes” to the screening questions must be excluded in a similar manner as the Wayne County order, with the additional requirement that the fever has dissipated for 72-hours (three days) without use of fever reducing medicines. Further, the Oakland County order also excludes (from the 14-day travel screening) travel that was part of the employee’s work commute from home to work. 
Similar to the Wayne County order, the Oakland order exempts health care facilities with infection control programs in place. The order also requires development and implementation of social distancing, as well as other efforts such as signage, special hours and other such procedures to implement the social distancing for employees and others.

Lenawee County Order

The Lenawee County order similarly requires businesses that are open be subject to the Executive Order to implement a daily screening process for symptoms of COVID-19. The order requires the exclusion of any employee(s) who exhibit fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or diarrhea, who have had close contact with a diagnosed case of COVID-19 or who have travelled. Employees with a fever may return to work after three days of no fever and seven days after the employee first exhibited symptoms. Employees who have travelled or have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 may return to work after 14 days. 

The order also requires businesses to develop and implement a social distancing plan for employees and for customers within or outside the business by limiting the capacity inside the facilities using visual markings, signage, entrance limits and specialized hours. Businesses must publish the order at every entrance and to the members of the public by all reasonable means.

Ingham County Order

Consistent with the orders discussed above, the Ingham County order also requires businesses to screen employees upon or just prior to reporting to worksites. The order is similar to the Oakland County order in its requirements for exclusion/isolation of employees who answer “yes” to the screening questions. Under this order, Ingham County businesses are also required to develop and implement social distancing plans, including limiting capacity inside facilities with the use of signs, contact barriers and entrance limits. Businesses are required to publish the order at all entrances.  

Both the Oakland County and the Ingham County orders have already been amended once. Given the ever-changing nature of the current health crisis, further amendments may be made to these orders. It is important for employers and businesses that remain open to be vigilant regarding the requirements imposed by local, state and federal officials.