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Grewal Law, PLLC
(855) 610-0503

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;
  • Energy;
  • 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


  1. Gravatar for James

    Manufacturing is okay to return to work,I was told to return to regular schedule March 30th 2020.

  2. Gravatar for Brian Gilmore
    Brian Gilmore

    I'm in the construction field. We work on the exterior of the house I have bnb 1 employee.

    We do siding which seals the house from the elements this protecting the home and its occupants. Is this considered a essential job vital to the infrastructure.

    I cant just have the house open to rain,snow

    1. Gravatar for Tammy Tolar
      Tammy Tolar

      I am wondering the same thing

  3. Gravatar for Jodi Boardman
    Jodi Boardman

    Hi, I'm wondering if Hotel/Motel's are considered to be "Critical Businesses" under the Governor's Executive Order? My husband works for our local Best Western and takes care of the pool. I'm wondering if he will get in trouble for going to work daily? He's the Maintenance Manager, I guess you'd say was his job title. I don't consider Hotel/Motel's to be a "Sustaining Business." Could someone clarify this for both of us?

    Thank you,

    Jodi Boardman

  4. Gravatar for Patrick Funk
    Patrick Funk

    I am a builder who has a roof torn off a church. Am I allowed to continue working ? It is me and my son working.

  5. Gravatar for Virginia Guindon
    Virginia Guindon

    My husband is the sole proprietor of our small business. No employees. What if people need electricity in their homes? Can I go out and fix it. In the rural areas you need electricity to run your well.

  6. Gravatar for Serena

    So my fiancé works in an optical lab that has very little work right now I’m curious doesn’t a optical factory which only makes eye glasses 👓 not qualify for a necessity currently? I mean his boss said the corporation of the company deemed them to stay open but I’m curious as to why they are not able to produce anything that’s in shortage and needed they work in close quarters I know because I used to work there they dint deal directly with the public but there is over 30 employees I’d say that work there and they haven’t done rotation shifts to keep people safe so why are they still open?

  7. Gravatar for Vicky K Gorsuch
    Vicky K Gorsuch

    My husband works for Uhal/145 Storage and Uhaul said their business was an essential service and demanded they stay open and work with in-person contact all day. How is this essential?

  8. Gravatar for Julie Jansen
    Julie Jansen

    My boyfriend works at Carmeuse Lime and Stone. He was told he needs to report to work. They breakdown the stone to use in road construction and steel manufacturing. Is this one of the essential jobs? Just kinda scary that one of the guys was off work with flu symptoms. Fever was 104. They didn't even tell the other workers. He found out from another coworker who is related to him.

  9. Gravatar for Amy Muller
    Amy Muller

    I work for a commercial cleaning company. I only report to the same site, flex n gate in battle creek every day. This is a plant that manufactures car parts. They sent all the workers home. However, everyone in the front offices are we working normally. Other than have a couple extra people wipe handrails and other points of contact down. They have had plenty of visitors the last couple days. Yesterday 33 alone. Today, there was even trucks still coming in. Don't know what they were doing. However they have a security guard on site and make everyone check in with her. Had to fight with them to get her gloves. And I have to use the same phone as her to punch in and out. We r definitely using extra precautions and things. However, this much contact with others and people still going in and out of the business from other sites and companies are very worrisome. I understand cleaning is a essential thing right now. However, if they just left the plant alone for 14 days, and then had me go back in before everyone else goes back they wouldn't be jeopardizing everyone's health and we'll being. Our company goes on a site by site basis because we are all at different locations. However an auto factory I don't believe is essential business right now.

  10. Gravatar for Deb B
    Deb B

    Thank you Mr. Barnett for addressing these issues. In Huron County, to my north, there are several manufacturing plants still in operation. These plants make trim and such for new cars and trucks. The one I am most familiar with is running all three of it's normal shifts with the full boat of employees. I have seen a picture of their notice by the time clock that (in part) they consider themselves as a "critical infrastructure business". Please, explain to me how a plant that makes trim parts mainly for GM is considered "critical infrastructure". I know several employees who are nervous about taking COVID 19 home with them to their families, they and I will be waiting to hear your opinion.

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