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The Latest Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Rules

On Monday, May 24, 2021, Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, improvised on her Vacc to Normal plan less than a month after it was announced. After the CDC issued its announcement on May 13, 2021 – that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks or physically distance – state and local governments that still had mask mandates in place were sent scrambling; workplace emergency rules no longer seemed to make sense; and employers faced a lot of confusion. This week, the MDHHS and MIOSHA attempted to clarify the contradictory rules and issued an update to the Workplace Emergency Order and Gathering and Face Mask Order, to adapt to the CDC rules.

The updated MIOSHA COVID-19 Emergency Rules have the following impact on the workplace:

(1) Removed the requirement that employers prohibit in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely. (This follows the first Vacc to Normal benchmark which stated in person work could resume once 55% of Michigan’s eligible vaccination population received their first dose).
(2) Removes the requirement of wearing facial coverings and socially distancing for fully vaccinated employees, provided that non-vaccinated individuals continued to follow these rules.
(3) Require employers to update their Covid-19 preparedness and response plan in accordance with the updated rules from the CDC and OSHA.
(4) Require recordkeeping of fully vaccinated employees if exempting them from wearing facial covering and physical distancing.
(5) Updated cleaning protocols in accordance with changes in CDC guidance.
(6) Updated definitions of “close contact” and “fully vaccinated persons”.
(7) Continued requirement of health surveillance for all employees and contractors.
(8) Continued requirement of 6 feet social distancing for non-vaccinated employees, to the extent feasible while on worksite.

These guidelines remain in effect until October 14, 2021.

The Governor also expanded the capacity limitations on outdoor and indoor gatherings, beginning June 1, 2021:
– Lifting all outdoor gatherings capacity limits.
– Indoor gatherings are now permitted as long as capacity does not exceed the greater of 50% or 25 people;
– The 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. ban on indoor dining will also lifted.

The indoor face mask requirement is still in place unless the individuals are excepted from the requirement (fully vaccinated, cannot medically tolerate, etc.) or, unless the establishment requires face masks of all patrons and employees.

All indoor capacity limits and mask orders are expected to be removed by July 1, 2021, barring unforeseen circumstances. If your company needs assistance in navigating these rules and rapidly changing requirements, do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected].

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