Michigan’s Shelter in Place Continues Through May 15, With Modifications

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a new Executive Order 2020-59 that continues many of the previous so-called “‘shelter in place” rules through May 15, but with modifications.

While there is generally more freedom for individuals and some businesses may reopen, beginning April 27, there will be face covering requirements for individuals in enclosed public spaces and for many workers, so employers should plan ahead. The primary changes are addressed below. Violations of the order are a misdemeanor.


In addition to prior reasons, individuals may now leave there homes and travel as necessary to:

  • Engage in outdoor recreational activities that now additionally include boating and golfing
  • Perform tasks related to all of the prior “health and safety” reasons (such as medical and dental procedures, getting medications, etc.) which now also include certain “in-person” veterinary services
  • Maintain not just the basic operations of motor vehicles, but also bicycles (or to pick up/return vehicles being leased or purchased)
  • Attend addiction recovery or mutual aid society meetings (provided no more than 10 people attend)
  • Travel between two residences located in Michigan (including moving to a new residence) but not to vacation rentals


Workers may now also leave their homes to perform “resumed activities” which include:

  • Those who process or fulfill remote orders for goods for delivery or curbside pick-up
  • Those who perform bicycle maintenance or repair
  • Those who work for garden stores, nurseries, and lawn care, pest control, and landscaping operations, subject to the enhanced social-distancing rules
  • Maintenance workers and groundskeepers necessary for the safety and sanitation of places of outdoor recreation, so long as these workers do not provide goods, equipment, supplies, or services to individuals, and subject to the enhanced social-distancing rules
  • Those working for moving or storage operations, subject to the enhanced social-distancing rules

Social Distancing

The enhanced social distancing rules required above are:

  • Prohibiting gatherings of any size in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another
  • Limiting in-person interaction with patrons to the maximum extent possible, and prohibiting any such interaction if people cannot maintain six feet of social distancing
  • Equipping workers with personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks appropriate for the activity performed
  • Implementing protocols that limit sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible and ensuring frequent and thorough cleaning of all tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces

Retail Industry

Retail stores (that sell groceries, medical supplies, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of residences or motor vehicles, including convenience stores, pet supply stores, auto supplies and repair stores, hardware and home maintenance stores, and home appliance retailers) as well as the newly resumed garden stores, nurseries, lawn care, pest control, and landscaping operations, must comply with the following:

  • For stores of less than 50,000 square feet of customer floor space - the number of people in the store (including employees)must be limited to 25% of the total occupancy limits established by the fire marshal.
  • Stores of more than 50,000 square feet must:

–  Continue to limit the number of customers in the store at one time (excluding employees) to 4 people per 1,000 square feet of customer floor space; and

–  Create at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations (i.e., people over 60, pregnant women, those with chronic conditions)

Retail stores may sell goods other than necessary supplies if the sale of such goods is in the ordinary course of business and are required to establishing consider curbside pick-up.

4. In addition, state parks may remain open for day use only, subject to any reductions in services or closures necessary to minimize large gatherings.

5. Finally, beginning April 27, 2020 facial coverings as explained below are now mandated:

  • Individuals who can medically tolerate a face covering must wear a covering over their nose and mouth (i.e., a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, handkerchief) whenever in any enclosed public space
  • All businesses with workers who perform in-person work must provide at least non-medical grade face coverings to their workers

For now, N95 masks and surgical masks should generally be reserved for health care professionals, first responders (i.e., police, fire fighters, paramedics, etc.), and other critical workers who are interacting with the public. Also, the protections against discrimination in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and any other protections against discrimination in Michigan law apply to persons who wear a mask under the Governor’s order.

One last tidbit – during her news conference today, Gov. Whitmer stated that a person who does not have a facial covering will not be subject to criminal penalties. However, this exception is not in Executive Order 2020-59.

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