What Employers Need to Know about Michigan’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ Executive Order

By Zoey A. Mayhew | Dinsmore


On March 23, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-21: “Stay Home, Stay Safe,” (the Order) directing all Michigan businesses and operations to suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to “sustain or protect life.” The Order goes into effect Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and remains in effect through April 13, 2020. Willful violations of the Order are considered a misdemeanor offense under Michigan law.


Although the Order imposes great restrictions on businesses in Michigan, there are excluded industries, and businesses are still permitted to conduct minimum basic operations. The Order is available in full online.


The Order includes restrictions on gatherings, travel, and business activities. All Michigan residents are required to stay at their place of residence, subject to the following exceptions:


  1. To engage in outdoor recreational activity (staying at least six feet away from people outside the individual’s household);

  2. To perform their jobs as critical infrastructure workers after being designated by their employers (see full list below);

  3. To conduct minimum basic operations (e.g., workers whose in-person presence is strictly necessary to allow the business or operation to maintain the value of inventory and equipment, care for animals, ensure security, process transactions, or facilitate the ability of other workers to work remotely);

  4. To perform necessary government activities;

  5. To perform tasks necessary to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets);

  6. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves, their family (including household members), and their vehicles (e.g., groceries, take-out food, gasoline, medical supplies, and other products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of their residences). Individuals must secure services or supplies via delivery to the maximum extent possible;

  7. To care for minors, dependents, the elderly, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons;

  8. To visit an individual under the care of a health care facility, residential care facility, or congregate care facility.

  9. To attend legal proceedings or hearings as ordered by a court;

  10. To work or volunteer for businesses or operations providing food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities;

Individuals may also travel:


  1. To return home or place of residence from outside the state;

  2. To leave the state for a home or residence elsewhere;

  3. To travel between two residences in the state; and

  4. As required by law enforcement or a court order, including the transportation of children pursuant to a custody agreement (EO 2020-21).


Any individual who leaves his/her residence pursuant to one of the enumerated exceptions must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances.


The Order prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number of people not part of a single household.


The Order provides, “[n]o person or entity shall operate a business or conduct operations that require workers to leave their homes or places of residence except to the extent that those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.” There are exceptions for the following industries:


  1. Health care and public health;

  2. Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders;

  3. Food and agriculture;

  4. Energy;

  5. Water and wastewater;

  6. Transportation and logistics;

  7. Public works;

  8. Communications and information technology, including news media;

  9. Other community-based government operations and essential functions;

  10. Critical manufacturing;

  11. Hazardous materials;

  12. Financial services;

  13. Chemical supply chains and safety;

  14. Defense industrial base;

  15. Child care workers (but only to the extent necessary to serve the children or dependents of critical infrastructure workers);

  16. Workers in the insurance industry (only to the extent their work cannot be done remotely);

  17. Workers and volunteers for businesses or operations providing food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities;

  18. Workers who perform critical labor union functions that cannot be done remotely (administering health and welfare funds and those monitoring the well-being and safety of union members who are critical infrastructure workers);

  19. Workers at designated suppliers and distribution centers, to the extent their continued operation is necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of its critical infrastructure workers;


Designation of critical infrastructure workers (including the necessary suppliers and distribution centers supporting the designated industries) and workers necessary to conduct minimum basic operations must be communicated to the employees in writing, “whether by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means.” These designations may be made orally until March 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.


The Order will have an extensive impact on businesses across Michigan. For advice regarding how the Order affects your business operations, please contact your Dinsmore employment attorney.


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Covid-19, 'Stay Home, Stay Safe', Davison, Burton, Flint, Fenton, Beecher, Flushing, Grand Blanc, Swartz Creek, Linden, Mount Morris, Clio, Argentine, Genesee, Michigan

329 N State Rd, Davison, MI 48423

(810) 653-2602

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