On May 1, at a press conference with leaders in health care, business and labor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-70 as part of her MI Safe Start plan. The executive order allowed the May 7 resumption of some types of work that present a very low risk of infection, including construction, real-estate activities and work that is traditionally and primarily performed outdoors.
"The vast majority of Michiganders are still doing their part to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. That's good, but we must keep it up," said Whitmer. "As part of our MI Safe Start Plan, we are bringing business and labor leaders together to ensure that while we lift some restrictions on the previous Stay Home, Stay Safe order, we are also protecting workers and their families from the spread of this virus."
Executive Order 2020-70 requires businesses to adopt measures to protect their workers against the spread of COVID-19.
"The data shows that we're ready to lift some of these restrictions while also encouraging Michiganders to continue doing their part under the governor's Stay Home, Stay Safe order," said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun. "The steps the governor is taking today will help ensure protections for workers and their families from COVID-19 while allowing for work in lower-risk fields to resume. We will keep monitoring the data closely and work with our partners across state government to mitigate the spread of COVID-19."
"We are grateful for the governor's commitment to protecting working people and their families from the spread of COVID-19," said Patrick Devlin, secretary treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. "Our dedicated building tradesmen and women are ready to get back to work, and we're glad the governor has taken steps today to help ensure their safety. We are excited to continue working with Governor Whitmer as she continues to take action on behalf of working families."
Under the order, construction sites must adopt a set of best practices to protect their workers from infection. Those practices include:
- Designating a site supervisor to enforce COVID-19 control strategies.
- Conducting daily health screenings for workers.
- Creating dedicated entry points, if possible, or issuing stickers or other indicators to assure that all workers are screened every day.
- Identifying choke points and high-risk areas (like hallways, hoists and elevators, break areas, water stations and buses) and controlling them to enable social distancing.
- Ensuring sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations at the work site.
"With an eye towards Michigan's economic recovery, leadership representing the full spectrum of the construction industry have been working diligently and cooperatively to outline processes and practices that will allow us to safely get back to work," said Ryan Maibach, president and CEO of Barton Malow and member of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council. "The construction industry is entrenched in a culture of safety, and as we return to work, we are developing and implementing new best practices that further emphasize the well-being of our workers and Michigan's citizens."