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Published 5/3/2020
3:22am

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order to Re-Open Construction & Real Estate Safely

Stay Home, Stay Safe order still in effect until May 15, 2020 

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At a Friday press conference with leaders in health care, business, and labor, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-70 as part of her MI Safe Start plan. The executive order will allow the May 7 resumption of some types of work that present a very low risk of infection, including construction, real-estate activities, and work that is traditionally and primarily performed outdoors.

“The vast majority of Michiganders are still doing their part to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. That’s good, but we must keep it up,” said Governor Whitmer. “As part of our MI Safe Start Plan, we are bringing business and labor leaders together to ensure that while we lift some restrictions on the previous Stay Home, Stay Safe order, we are also protecting workers and their families from the spread of this virus. I want to be clear: we must all continue to stay home and stay safe as much as possible. If we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”  

The governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect until May 15, 2020. Under this order, Michiganders still must not leave their homes except to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities, or to go to specified jobs. Executive Order 2020-70 also requires businesses to adopt measures to protect their workers against the spread of COVID-19.  

“The data shows that we’re ready to lift some of these restrictions while also encouraging Michiganders to continue doing their part under the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “The steps the governor is taking today will help ensure protections for workers and their families from COVID-19 while allowing for work in lower-risk fields to resume. We will keep monitoring the data closely and work with our partners across state government to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”  

“We are grateful for the governor’s commitment to protecting working people and their families from the spread of COVID-19,” said Pat Devlin, Secretary Treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. “Our dedicated building tradesmen and women are ready to get back to work, and we’re glad the governor has taken steps today to help ensure their safety. We are excited to continue working with Governor Whitmer as she continues to take action on behalf of working families.”  

Under the order, construction sites must adopt a set of best practices to protect their workers from infection. Those practices include:  

• Designating a site supervisor to enforce COVID-19 control strategies.  
• Conducting daily health screenings for workers.
• Creating dedicated entry points, if possible, or issuing stickers or other indicators to assure that all workers are screened every day.
Identifying choke points and high-risk areas (like hallways, hoists and elevators, break areas, water stations, and buses) and controlling them to enable social distancing.  
• Ensuring sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations at the worksite.

“With an eye towards Michigan’s economic recovery, leadership representing the full spectrum of the construction industry have been working diligently and cooperatively to outline processes and practices that will allow us to safely get back to work,” said Ryan Maibach, President & CEO of Barton Malow and member of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council. “The construction industry is entrenched in a culture of safety, and as we return to work, we are developing and implementing new best practices that further emphasize the well-being of our workers and Michigan’s citizens.”  

Last week, the governor signed Executive Order 2020-59 to require people to wear homemade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. This requirement is still in effect under Executive Order 2020-70.  

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Update 4/26/2020

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is now a Saturday Night Live character, after a skit aired on April 25th depicting Michigan's leader delivering a satirical message to the state's residents about staying safe during the state's Coronavirus lockdown.

The body of a six-year-old was found on Friday April 24th in the Huron River.  The boy, along with his father, disappeared during a fishing trip on March 29th.

A man was rescued after his kayak capsized in West Michigan.  It happened Saturday morning, April 25th, at Fennessy Lake, in West Michigan.  The 42 year old man was treated for hypothermia.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan President Andrea Acevedo says she is concerned some nursing homes in Michigan are choosing not to report COVID-19 deaths to employees and the public putting more lives in danger.  The union represents more than 5,000 nursing home workers.

A Grand Haven church is among others in the state to offer a drive-in service as Michigan's stay-at-home order remains in place.  Trinity Reformed Church invited drivers to park in the church's lot on Sunday morning at 10am but required attendees to keep windows up and continue to social distance.

A Republican Michigan lawmaker is apologizing after wearing a face mask in session in Lansing on Friday, April 24th that resembled the Confederate flag.  State Senator Dale Zorn said the mask's design was not a Confederate flag but apologized for his choice of pattern.

Mid-Michigan TV stations will host a town hall with Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday April 30th.  The event will originate at the ABC 12 studios in Flint and will be carried on that station, along with WNEM-TV 5, NBC 25 and FOX 66, from 7 to 8pm.

A person suspected of breaking into vehicles in Gaylord over the weekend has been arrested. Authorities say there may be more victims than those currently known.