The Elhart & Horvath Blog

Stay-at-Home: What Governor Whitmer's Executive Order means for you

Posted by Dena Horvath on Mar 24 , 2020 - 09:15 am

What is this Stay-at-Home business everyone is talking about?

On March 24, 2020, Executive Order N. 2020-21 closed, restricted, and reconfigured businesses all over Michigan. Essentially, all activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life are suspended temporarily.  Only essential businesses may remain business-as-usual. All businesses that are not considered essential must determine who is necessary to keep the business operating minimally to stay afloat.   As of now, the Order will continue through April 12, 2020. It can be extended by both houses of the legislature.

Can I leave my house?

All individuals who are not working must stay at home with a few exceptions:

-Going outside for exercise, fresh air, to walk your dog;

-Obtaining essential supplies like groceries, gas,  and prescription medications;

-Taking care of a family member such as a minor, pet, or elderly/volnerable dependents; 

-Travel consistent with a custody arrangement or as required by court (probation terms);

-Traveling to another domicile in a different state (traveling between states is not prohibited); and

-To travel to work if you qualify (explained below).

Who and what is considered Essential?

-Health Care Workers: Healthcare and human service workers may leave their homes for work. Health care workers include hospitals, clinics, dental offices, pharmacies, blood banks, and other healthcare providers. Child care workers are exempt for the purpose of caring for children and dependents of critical infrastructure workers;

-Emergency Responders : Law enforcement, Public safety, First responders;

-Food and Agriculture: Grocery stores, food suppliers, farmers;

-Utility Workers: Water, wastewater, energy;

-Transportation & Logistics: Such as truck drivers, delivery operations, that provide services that are essential;

-Public Works;

-Media and Other Communications and Information Technology: Radio, Television, Newspapers;

-Essential Government: If this is your employer, you will know if you must work from home;

-Critical Manufacturing: Individuals who work at designated manufacturers, suppliers, and distribution centers that enable, support, or facilitate the work of other critical infrastructure workers, but only to the extent those workers are necessary to do so;

-Chemical supply chains and Safety;

-Financial Services; and

-Defense Industry.

Get it in writing! 

Businesses that employ critical infrastructure workers may continue in-person operations, subject to the Order and MUST be designated in writing. If you are a business owner, write a letter designating your employee as a critical infrastructure worker. If you are an employee, carry the letter with you when traveling to and from work. Should you get pulled over, present the letter.

What if my employer/business is non-essential?

Non-Essential Business must cease operation except for minimum basic operations. All businesses not listed above, or not considered essential must cease all activities that require workers to leave their homes except to the extent necessary to sustain or protect life OR CONDUCT MINIMUM BASIC OPERATIONS. That last part is a loophole - something lawyers love!

What are minimum basic operations?

This means anyone necessary to allow the business to maintain the value of inventory or equipment, care for animals, ensure security, process transactions (including payroll and employee benefits), or facilitate the ability of other workers to work from home do not have to stay home!

If you are a necessary employee or business owner as described above, the Order still requires that businesses must maintain social distancing practices by restricting the number of workers present to no more than necessary to perform the operations, promoting work from home, and keeping workers at least six feet apart. Businesses are encouraged to clean and disinfect premises.

What is the penalty if I violate the Order?

 If you violate Michigan’s Shelter in Place law it is a misdemeanor and could result in 90 days jail and a $500.00 fine. Whether or not it will be enforced may be a case-by-case and county based decision. Furthermore, the officer must either have an arrest warrant or witness you violating the Order. If neither are present you will likely be issued a ticket. Remember to carry your letter from your employer stating that you are essential. You have rights and if you find yourself in this position it is best to call us immediately. 



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