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New Michigan order aims to protect grocery store customers, employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Grocery stores, food establishments, pharmacies to implement new protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a new executive order into law that focuses on reducing COVID-19 exposure at grocery stores.

The executive order, announced Saturday, establishes protocols for grocery stores, food establishments and pharmacies. The social distancing protocols include requiring employees to wear face coverings, implement daily screening programs and more.

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Employers will now conduct daily health screenings and prohibit sick employees from working. The order also mandates that businesses must notify employees if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.

Grocery stores and pharmacies must now also allocate at least two hours a week of shopping time for people in vulnerable populations.

The governor says these steps are taken to protect frontline workers and to keep COVID-19 from spiking again.

Customers are also highly encouraged to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth when visiting food establishments. The new order follows Whitmer’s extended stay-at-home order from Friday, which requires individuals to wear face coverings when in enclosed public places.

“I encourage the grocers of the world to tell their customers ‘you got to wear a mask to (come in)’," Whitmer said Sunday. "It’s how we protect the employees who are showing up every day, putting their own health at risk to keep the rest of us fed.”

The governor says the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan is “still a very serious situation” and encourages individuals to protect themselves and those around them.

“We just continue to ask everyone to do their part. You’ve made a difference in making these sacrifices," Whitmer said. "We’ve got to keep going. We will get through this and we’ll get through it together.”

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