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Published in Economic Development

Whitmer directive clamps down on COVID-19 violations among state licensees

BY MIBIZ STAFF Tuesday, August 04, 2020 04:07pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has directed state agency heads to use their resources to clamp down on pandemic-related rules violations and consider safety compliance when licensing businesses.

Whitmer’s executive directive signed today also tells agency heads that when considering licenses, non-compliance with pandemic orders must be considered “presumptive evidence of a ‘public health hazard’ or ‘imminent and substantial hazard to the public health.’” The directive may apply to food establishments with documented violations.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer COURTESY PHOTO

Whitmer cited the state’s recent uptick to roughly 50 cases of COVID-19 per million people as of late July as reason to prioritize enforcement of executive orders, particularly in sectors with documented spread of the virus, including nursing homes, food processing facilities and agricultural housing.

“Ensuring these executive orders are enforced across the state will protect Michigan families, small businesses, and the first responders on the front lines of this crisis,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This fight is not over yet. During the month of July we saw an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in every region of the state. By allocating the appropriate and needed resources, we can continue to save lives and ensure we don’t have to move backward.”

According to the directive, agency or department heads must consider whether COVID-19 violations require a license suspension. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials may also consider whether to immediately close a food establishment if a violation poses a public health threat.

The Michigan State Police enforces COVID-19 violations and can use “enforcement discretion as appropriate,” according to the directive.

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