State and Federal Legislative Updates
Governor Whitmer Takes Swift Action to Save Lives, Signs Executive Order Requiring Mask Use in all Indoor Public Spaces
On July 10, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-147, which reiterates that individuals are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space. It also requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces. Most significantly, the order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions. The executive order takes effect at 12:01am on Monday, July 13. A willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor subject to a $500 criminal penalty, but no term of confinement may be imposed on individuals who violate the mask requirement. No individual is subject to penalty under the order for removing a mask while engaging in religious worship at a house of religious worship, although consistent with guidance from the CDC, congregants are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings during religious services.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 2020-143
Closing indoor service at bars
On July 1, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-143, stating that to protect our state from a new wave of infections and to increase the likelihood that we can reopen schools in the fall, the order closes bars and nightclubs for indoor service in those regions that are in Phase 4 of the Michigan Safe Start Plan. Restaurants can remain open for indoor service, but alcohol can be served only to patrons who are seated at socially distanced tables. Common areas where people stand and congregate within restaurants must be closed. Restaurants and bars may remain open for outdoor seating, but only for seated customers at socially distanced tables.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 2020-110
Temporary restrictions on certain events, gatherings, and businesses
On June 1, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-110, rescinding her Safer at Home order and moving the entire state to phase four of the MI Safe Start Plan. The governor’s order will allow retailers to reopen on June 4 and restaurants to reopen on June 8, both subject to capacity limits. Day camps for children will likewise be permitted to open on June 8. Effective immediately, groups of 100 or less will be allowed gather outdoors with social distancing. Office work that is not capable of being performed remotely can resume. And in-home services, including housecleaning services, can resume operations.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 2020-92
Temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life
On May 18, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-92, allowing for the reopening, in two regions, of retail businesses, office work that cannot be done remotely, and restaurants and bars with limited seating. The two regions are both in the northern part of the state—specifically, MERC regions 6 and 8, as detailed in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy.
Region 6 in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan includes the following counties: Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, and Emmet.
Region 8 in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan includes the following counties: Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Iron, Baraga, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, and Chippewa.
March 28, 2020
President Donald J. Trump Approves Michigan’s Disaster Declaration
President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Michigan and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing. The President’s action makes Federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of Michigan.
March 27, 2020
Remarks by President Trump at Signing of H.R.748, The CARES Act
This legislation provides for direct payments to individuals and unprecedented support to small businesses. This historic bill includes the following:
$300 billion in direct cash payments will be available to every American citizen earning less than $99,000 per year; $3,400 for a typical family of four. So a family of four: $3,400.
And then $350 billion in job retention loans for small businesses, with loan forgiveness available for businesses that continue paying their workers. The workers get paid.
Approximately $250 billion in expanded unemployment benefits. The average worker who has lost his or her job will receive 100 percent of their salary for up to four full months.
March 23, 2020
Executive Order on Preventing Hoarding of Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19
Act to prevent hoarding of health and medical resources necessary to respond to the spread of COVID-19 within the United States, including the authority to prescribe conditions with respect to the accumulation of such resources, and to designate any material as a scarce material, or as a material the supply of which would be threatened by persons accumulating the material either in excess of reasonable demands of business, personal, or home consumption, or for the purpose of resale at prices in excess of prevailing market prices.