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Governor Extends Protections for Vulnerable Michiganders

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed executive orders that will extend COVID-19 adaptation for those most susceptible to the ravages of COVID-19.

The state’s residents who are most susceptible to the ravages of COVID-19 recently had safety measures extended by the governor to better protect them against the continued spread of the coronavirus throughout Michigan.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed executive orders 2020-148 and 2020-149 on July 13. The orders extend COVID-19 adaptation in long-term care facilities to protect residents and staff as well as extend existing safety precautions such the reserving of as two hours a week of shopping time specifically for vulnerable populations to protect consumers and employees at grocery stores and pharmacies. The extensions run through Aug. 10.

“The frontline workers across the state have been the heroes of this pandemic and we must do everything we can to protect both them and our most vulnerable Michiganders,” Whitmer said. “This virus is still widespread and poses a real danger to our families, and these extensions will be crucial in protecting both frontline workers, customers and our most vulnerable populations. I urge each and every one of us to do our part through physical distancing and masking up to help fight COVID-19.”

Executive order 2020-148 maintains the strong infection-control protocols in nursing homes that were enacted at the outset of the pandemic. It protects residents from eviction and employees from discriminatory action for staying home when exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Under the order, a long-term care facility is required to take specific precautions when a resident exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, including informing employees of the facility. The order also requires nursing homes to use reasonable efforts to create dedicated units for residents affected by COVID-19. In addition, the order clarifies that nursing homes that create such units must provide adequate personal protective equipment to the direct-care employees responsible for staffing the units and implement reliable and effective infection procedures.

Executive order 2020-149 extends health and safety rules for grocery stores and pharmacies, including:

  • Grocery stores and pharmacies must allocate at least two hours per week of shopping time for vulnerable populations.
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the business must notify other employees without infringing on private health information.
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies must offer accommodations to vulnerable employees, such as low-risk assignments or a leave of absence.

Information about the pandemic is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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