DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order barring employers from retaliating against an employee who must stay home due to COVID-19.
Executive Order 2020-36 is aimed at prohibiting all employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an employee for staying home from work if they or one of their close contacts tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of the disease.
Executive Order 2020-36 also adds to the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order by declaring that it is the public policy of the state that all Michiganders who test positive or show symptoms, or who live with someone who tests positive or shows symptoms, should not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.
Executive Order 2020-36 takes effect immediately and will remain in place until the end of the governor’s declared emergency or until otherwise rescinded.
“People who are prioritizing the health and safety of their families, neighbors, and loved ones during this crisis should not be punished by their workplace. Staying home and staying safe is one of the most important things we can do to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, and this executive order will ensure more people can do so without facing discrimination from their workplace,” said Governor Whitmer. “We have taken aggressive measures to protect our communities, but it’s on all of us to work together to fight this virus.”
“Ensuring those who experience symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 and the people they live with remain in their homes will help mitigate community spread,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “It’s crucial that anyone experiencing symptoms, and those they live with, stay home and stay safe.”
Under Executive Order 2020-36, any and all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who display one or more of the principal symptoms, such as fever, atypical cough, and atypical shortness of breath, must remain in their home or place of residence. This includes Michiganders who are otherwise free to leave their homes under Executive Order 2020-21. People who test positive or who are experiencing symptoms must wait to leave their homes until three days have passed since their symptoms have resolved and seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared, or since they were swabbed for the test that yielded the positive result.
In addition, any and all close contacts of a symptomatic individual or of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should remain in their home until 14 days have passed or the symptomatic individual receives a negative COVID-19 test.
Health-care professionals, workers at a health-care facility, first responders (e.g., police officers, fire fighters, paramedics), child protective service employees, workers at child caring institutions and correctional officers are exempt from staying at home if a member of their household tests positive for COVID-19 or displays one or more of the principal symptoms provided that their employers’ rules governing occupational health allow them to go to work.
Individuals and household members who test positive for COVID-19 or who display one or more of the principal symptoms may leave their home or place of residence when necessary to obtain food, medicine, or supplies that are needed to sustain or protect life and when those items cannot be obtained via delivery. People may also engage in outdoor activities, including walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity consistent while remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household.
When symptomatic people or their close contacts leave the home, they should wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief. For now, however, supplies of N95 masks and surgical masks should generally be reserved to health-care professionals, first responders (e.g., police officers, fire fighters, paramedics), and other critical workers.