Published in Economic Development

State workplace safety program focuses on college towns

BY MIBIZ STAFF Friday, August 07, 2020 01:26pm

State officials are launching a webinar series to help businesses in college towns protect workers and customers as students return to campus during pandemic uncertainty.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Opportunity will host the webinars geared toward retail stores and bars and restaurants in seven cities, including Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids/Allendale and Mt. Pleasant.

LEO Director Jeff Donofrio COURTESY PHOTO

“With the number of cases among young, college-aged Michiganders increasing, it’s critical we take extra steps to ensure that businesses in college towns know how to protect their employees, customers and communities from COVID-19,” LEO Director Jeff Donofrio said in a statement. “Businesses across the state are working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and we’re working to provide resources and programs to help make that job easier.”

The series will provide businesses with the most recent state rules and protocols as higher education institutions take varied approaches to the fall semester. Northern Michigan University in Marquette, for example, announced this week that it will allow face-to-face instruction for the fall semester. Officials at Michigan State University announced earlier this week that students are encouraged to stay off campus, if possible, as most courses will be online. Others have announced plans for a mix of in-person and virtual instruction.

“The return of college students presents a new challenge and our businesses must be ready,” said Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan, who will lead the webinars. “To beat COVID-19, everyone must be aware of the latest information and follow key safety and health behaviors. We want to help local businesses understand exactly how to do that, so that together we can slow the spread of the virus and keep the economy moving.”

The webinar schedule spans Aug. 11-21 for specific areas. Each webinar is scheduled from 2:30-3:30 p.m.:

  • Aug. 11: Kalamazoo: 
  • Aug. 12: East Lansing
  • Aug. 13: Grand Rapids/Allendale
  • Aug. 18: Detroit
  • Aug. 19: Ann Arbor
  • Aug. 20: Mt. Pleasant
  • Aug. 21: Marquette
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