Michigan’s Executive Order 2020-147 Requires Masks in Indoor Public Spaces, Mandates Businesses To Refuse Service

13 July 2020 Coronavirus Resource Center:Back to Business Blog
Authors: Steven H. Hilfinger Robert Nederhood Jeffrey S. Kopp Kenneth A. Johnson

On Friday, July 10, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-147, requiring the wearing of protective face coverings in indoor places of public accommodation. 

2020-147 additionally requires that businesses and all other indoor places of accommodation, including government offices open to the public, deny entry or service to anyone not wearing a face covering. Indoor spaces open to the public must also post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside. 

Masks are not required for those younger than five years old, for those who are unable to medically tolerate the wearing of a mask, or when eating, drinking, exercising and when temporary removal of the mask is essential to perform a service. The Order also requires face coverings to be worn (i) outdoors whenever an individual in unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household, (ii) when waiting for or riding on public transportation, or (iii) while in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle or when using a private car service. 

Businesses found to be in violation of the Order are subject to operating license suspension or revocation under Section 92 of the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969. (1969 PA 306, as amended, MCL 24.292(2)) Willful noncompliance of the Order constitutes a misdemeanor, and imposes a fine of up to $500 for each violation.  

While 2020-147 applies most directly to individuals and places which remain open to the public, the requirements operate in conjunction with other safety protocols promulgated by Executive Order. 

New Employer Requirements

Revised workplace safety protocols were issued simultaneously with 2020-147 in Executive Order 2020-145.  2020-145 replaces Order 2020-114, and, like its predecessor workplace safety orders, promulgates extensive industry-specific workplace protocols. 

The two main changes are that employers now have to provide training and posters for employees in native languages – so if the employer has a large workforce of Hispanics, for instance, then they must post and train in Spanish. The order also added a set of new safety protocols for meat and poultry processing facilities.

More noteworthy, the new Executive Order requires face coverings to be worn in all shared spaces, including in person meetings, restrooms, and hallways, and whenever employees cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation from other individuals. For instance, in businesses that have common areas such as kitchens or where employees must use common bathrooms, they must wear a mask.  This would also apply in areas where employees work in cubicles and it is not possible to maintain employee separation.  

Businesses must enforce the Executive Order requirements.  If an employee complains the employer is not enforcing a face mask requirement, the employee could file a complaint with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and allege claims under the OSHA requirements for maintaining a safe workplace.  Employers who terminate or discipline employees who file such complaints or report unsafe working conditions could be subject to criminal and civil liability.  Employers would be well-served to seek counsel for employment-related decisions concerning employee discipline related to employees refusing to wear masks or reporting others for doing so.     

Finally, Executive Order 2020-36, prohibiting discrimination for individuals staying home from work because of a COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms, or who are in close contact with sick individuals, remains in effect. 

Foley has created a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional team, which has prepared a wealth of topical client resources and is prepared to help our clients meet the legal and business challenges that the coronavirus outbreak is creating for stakeholders across a range of industries. Click here for Foley’s Coronavirus Resource Center to stay apprised of relevant developments, insights and resources to support your business during this challenging time. To receive this content directly in your inbox, click here and submit the form.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services