On March 23, 2020 Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into effect Executive Order No. 2020-21. This Order temporarily requires Michigan businesses to suspend all activities that are NOT necessary to sustain or protect life or conduct minimum basic operations. In essence, it is a stay-at-home order that only allows you go to work under certain conditions. (There are also restrictions/exceptions that apply to individuals. These restrictions/exceptions can be found here). So, what workers are part of the critical infrastructure, and what workers are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations?
The following is a brief list/summary of those designated as “critical infrastructure workers” pursuant to the Order:
- Health care and public health;
- Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders;
- Food and agriculture;
- Water and wastewater;
- Transportation and logistics;
- Public works;
- Communications and information technology, including news media;
- Other community-based government operations and essential functions;
- Critical manufacturing;
- Hazardous materials;
- Financial services;
- Chemical supply chains and safety;
- Defense industrial base;
- Childcare workers, but only to the extent they serve the children or dependents of the other critical infrastructure workers defined in the Order;
- Supplier and distribution center workers;
- Workers in the insurance industry, but only to the extent that their work cannot be done by phone or remotely;
- Workers and volunteers for businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals; and,
- Workers who perform critical labor union functions.
Businesses and operations that employ critical infrastructure workers may continue in-person operations, but only with the additional conditions laid out in the Order. These conditions are found in Sections 5(a)-(c), and include: a written designation of the employees to be physically present at the business’s office/location (as described further, below); the suspension of all activities not necessary to sustain or protect life; and, the implementation of social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons. (See Section 5(c)(1)-(5) for social distancing practices).
Workers that are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations are also eligible to be physically present at work. Pursuant to Section 4(b), “workers who are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations are those whose in-person presence is strictly necessary to allow the business or operation to maintain the value of inventory and equipment, care for animals, ensure security process transactions (including payroll and employee benefits), or facilitate the ability of other workers to work remotely.”
Importantly, “businesses and operations must determine which of their workers are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations and inform such workers of that designation. Businesses and operations must make such designations in writing, whether by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means. Such designations, however, may be made orally until March 31, 2020.” This requirement also applies to business and operations in the critical infrastructure category.
If you are a business/operation that is requiring a worker to be physically present in your office because s/he is necessary to conduct minimum basic operations, you must inform that worker of the same. Further, this designation must be made in writing by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means by March 31, 2020.
If you have any questions, please contact our office at (616) 259-8463 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel Barnett is an associate attorney with Grewal Law PLLC. His practice areas include commercial litigation, general civil litigation, criminal law, personal injury, and family law.