LANSING — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on May 1 signed Executive Order 2020-70 as part of her MI Safe Start plan. The new order will allow the May 7 resumption of some types of work presenting a very low risk of coronavirus 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. I want to be clear: we must all continue to stay home and stay safe as much as possible. If we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”

Under Order 2020-70, construction sites must adopt a set of best practices to protect their workers from infection.

On Thursday, May 7, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-77 to extend Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order to May 28. The order will allow manufacturing workers, including those at Michigan’s Big 3 auto companies, to resume work on Monday, May 11 as part of her MI Safe Start Plan (under this order, Michiganders still must not leave their homes except to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities, or to go to specified jobs).  

After announcing that Michigan’s manufacturing workers can return to work May 11, Governor Whitmer detailed the six phases of her MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy. The governor has worked with leaders in health care, business, labor, and education to develop the plan, and announced today that Michigan is in phase three.


The phases of the pandemic include:

1. UNCONTROLLED GROWTH: The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems.

2. PERSISTENT SPREAD: We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity.

3. FLATTENING: The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health-system's capacity is sufficient for current needs.

4. IMPROVING: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining.

5. CONTAINING: Continued case and death rate improvements, with outbreaks quickly contained.

6. POST-PANDEMIC: Community spread not expected to return.

“I am working closely with health care experts and epidemiologists to closely monitor Michigan’s progress in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “As we move forward with the MI Safe Start Plan, I am working closely with partners in business, labor, and education to determine the best way to move forward each day. All of us know the importance of getting people back to work and the economy moving again. We’ve already reopened lower-risk sectors like construction, manufacturing, and lawn care.

“The worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk, and wipes out all the progress we've made. That's why we will continue to monitor the spread of this virus, hospital capacity, testing rates, and more as we work toward reaching the ‘improving’ phase.”

"Social distancing is our best weapon to defeat this enemy," she said. "With new COVID-19 cases leveling off, however, we are lifting some of the restrictions put in place in the previous order. I want to be crystal clear: the overarching message today is still the same. We must all do our part by staying home and staying safe as much as possible.”

The April 24 order requires people to wear homemade, non-medical grade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also require employers to provide at least cloth face coverings to their employees. People won’t have to wear face coverings when they’re taking a walk in the neighborhood, but when they go to the grocery store, they should be wearing one. Under the order, however, no one will be subject to criminal penalty for going without a mask.

The April 24 executive order will also allow some workers who perform very previously suspended activities to go back on the job. Landscapers, lawn-service companies, and plant nurseries can return to work, subject to strict social distancing. Retailers to that do not sell necessary supplies may reopen for curbside pick-up and for delivery. Big box stores can reopen “closed areas,” like garden centers. And bike repair and maintenance can come back online.

At the same time, the order will ease up on some restrictions on members of the public. It will, for example, allow motorized boating and golf (but no golf carts), consistent with sound social distancing. It will also permit individuals to travel between their residences, though such travel during the epidemic is strongly discouraged. And it will clarify that state parks remain open, as they have been throughout the emergency.

Phil DeRuiter was back in business at his DeRuiter’s Greenhouse, 3688 West Kaiser Road (between Three Oaks and New Troy), on Saturday, April 25, following the previous day’s announcement.

DeRuiter said he was “very happy” to be back in business after spending the spring doing production and not being able to sell.

“We have a lot of product. We’ll be able to start moving it out now,” he said. “A lot of people are calling, and everybody wants veggies this year. People are ready to go.”

Although Saturday, April 25, was a rain-out for local golfers, plenty were back on the links the next day.

John Magro, John Tuszynski and Hans Krieger were walking the Pebblewood course on APril 26, using push-carts for the golf bags.

“We’ve actually been out a lot,” noted Magro. “We were going to Indiana.”

The trio also played on on Friday, April 24 — the day Michigan courses were re-opened, and had played a few times during the winter as well.

Gary Ulrath and Dan Becktel also were playing golf at Pebblewood on Sunday, and noted that they had come out the previous Friday afternoon as well.

“You’re social distancing, why can’t you be out playing golf?” Ulrath said.

Governor Whitmer on Thursday, April 30, signed Executive Order 2020-69 which extends a previous order that temporarily closes certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, bars, casinos, and more. In order to maintain social distancing the order also limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders. 

“Although we are beginning to see the curve flatten, we are not out of the woods yet. We must all continue to be diligent, observe social distancing and limit in-person interactions and services to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “Michigan now has more than 40,000 cases of COVID-19. The virus has killed more Michiganders than we lost during the Vietnam war. Extending this order is vital to the health and safety of every Michigander. If we work together and do our part, we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”

This order does not restrict a place of business from offering food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service. Places of public accommodation are encouraged to offer food and beverage service in one or more of those ways and use precautions to mitigate potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing and wearing as face covering. Restaurants may allow five people inside at a time to pick up orders, so long as they stay six feet apart from each other. 

These restrictions do not apply to the following locations: office buildings, grocery stores, markets, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, and providers of medical equipment and supplies, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities, warehouse and distribution centers, and industrial and manufacturing facilities.   

Executive Order 2020-69 is effective immediately and extends until May 28, 2020.

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