Published in Economic Development
Whitmer reopens manufacturing, extends stay-home order until May 28 COURTESY PHOTO

Whitmer reopens manufacturing, extends stay-home order until May 28

BY Thursday, May 07, 2020 04:30pm

Nearly 20 percent of Michigan’s economy will start to reopen on Monday under an executive order signed today by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The decision, which also extends the state’s stay-at-home order to May 28, allows manufacturers statewide to resume work while following a series of guidelines to protect worker safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

“This is a really important moment,” Whitmer said during a press conference today, noting roughly 19 percent of Michigan’s economy is based on manufacturing. “With these safety protocols, we can safely re-engage.”

The order’s requirements include creating an exposure control plan that sets policies for maintaining social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, and training employees as they return to work. Employers are also required to assign dedicated entry points that reduce congestion and screen employees. According to state guidance released today, employees shouldn’t be allowed to enter the workplace if they have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher

The automotive sector will begin a phased-in approach, with suppliers allowed to start work Monday. The Big Three automakers will resume work on May 18.

“Automotive and manufacturing is not only the backbone of our regional and state economy, it is essential to the functioning of the global supply chain. This is good news for Michigan and the nation,” Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber, said in a statement.

Whitmer’s MI Safe Start plan — adopted with input from manufacturing, labor and health care professionals — outlines additional steps for social distancing, hygiene, sanitation, personal protective equipment (PPE), case monitoring and closing portions of facilities.

“Gov. Whitmer has brought together leaders in business and labor to ensure our workers can return to the job safely,” Michigan Manufacturers Association President and CEO John Walsh said in a statement. “The safety of our workers is our top priority and I am confident that Michigan manufacturers are prepared to deliver on the worker protections included in today’s order. We believe the manufacturing industry has a big role to play in Michigan’s economic recovery and we’re ready to lead the way. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the governor to bring the manufacturing industry back up to full strength.” 

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