Michigan’s manufacturing sector, automakers and automotive suppliers can get back to work starting Monday under an executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Thursday.
In the same order (see it here), Whitmer extended the state’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order through May 28.
“This is truly good news for our state,” Whitmer said. “It’s a major step forward in our MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”
Under the order, the Big 3 automakers, in agreement with the UAW, will begin phasing in work on May 18, Whitmer said, starting at 25% capacitiy and phasing up from there.
Whitmer called it “a really important moment” in the state’s move through the six phases of the crisis.
“Manufacturing is an important part of our economy, there’s no doubt about that,”she said. “As we’ve done the risk assessment, we feel comfortable that with these safety protocols, we can safely re-engage. This is a sizeable part of our economy, but it is an incremental step.”
Whitmer has previously allowed landscapers, nurseries, the construction industry and real estate activity to resume.
Under Executive Order 2020-77, manufacturing facilities must adopt measures to protect their workers from the spread of COVID-19. That includes conducting a daily entry screening protocol for workers and everyone else entering the facility, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with a temperature screening as soon as no-touch thermometers can be obtained. They must also create dedicated entry points at every facility, and suspend entry of all non-essential in-person visits, including tours.
John Walsh, President and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, pointed out that Whitmer has worked with leaders in business and labor “to ensure our workers can return to the job safely.”
“The safety of our workers is our top priority and I am confident that Michigan manufacturers are prepared to deliver on the worker protections included in today’s order,” Walsh said. “We believe the manufacturing industry has a big role to play in Michigan’s economic recovery and we’re ready to lead the way. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the governor to bring the manufacturing industry back up to full strength.”
Manufacturing facilities must also train workers on, among other things, how COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person, signs and symptoms of COVID-19, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or suspected or confirmed diagnosis, and the use of personal protective equipment.
All businesses in the state—including manufacturers—must require masks to be worn when workers cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation from others, and consider face shields for those who cannot consistently maintain three feet of separation from other workers.
The governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect until May 28. 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.
Whitmer said she understands the frustrations of not opening everything, but insisted her moves are designed to prevent reoccurrence of the virus.
“I know Michiganders are eager to get back to work,” she said. “It’s crucial to stay smart.”