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AG Recognizes Big Box Retailer for Efforts to Slow Spread of COVID-19

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wanted to publicly recognize Home Depot for its efforts to protect its customers and employees from contracting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and for complying with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order.

“My office has found Home Depot to be one of the large retailers taking important steps to ensure social distancing measures are in place at its stores and attempts are being made to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the number of customers allowed inside at any given time,” Nessel said. “For those businesses that are still permitted to operate under the executive order, I strongly urge them to consider implementing similar procedures and taking additional steps to protect the safety of consumers and employees.”

When contacted by the Attorney General’s office, Home Depot reported it has posted employees at its stores’ entrances and exits who are limiting the number of customers inside each building at a time. Customers are also having to wait their turn to enter in a line with markings every 6 feet. The business has also eliminated promotions that could have increased customer traffic and has segregated products so customers are less likely to attempt to purchase non-essential items.

Other measures include: 

  • Closing stores early at 6 p.m. to allow more time for sanitization and restocking. 
  • Limiting services and installations to those essential for maintenance and repair needs in impacted markets. 
  • Asked associates to work from home where appropriate, and distributing thermometers to associates in stores and distribution centers and asking them to perform health checks before reporting to work. 
  • Added employee bonuses, double pay for those working overtime, as well as paid time off for full-time and part-time hourly associates, and providing additional time off for associates who are 65 years of age or older, or determined to be at higher risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
  • Providing paid time off for any associate who has contracted COVID-19 or those who are required to be quarantined, while also extending dependent care benefits. 
  • Froze pricing on product categories in high demand due to COVID-19, while redirecting product shipments like N95 masks to be donated to hospitals, health care providers and first responders. 

The Stay Home, Stay Safe order prohibits any person or entity from operating a business or conducting operations that require workers to leave their homes or places of residence, except to the extent those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct basic minimum operations.

Home Depot, like other home improvement stores, is currently allowed to remain open to supply goods to the general public that are “necessary to maintain and improve the safety, sanitation and essential operations of a residence,” according to the order. Such businesses should also have as few employees as needed to support those sales.

Willful violations of the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order can result in a $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail for each offense, as well as licensing penalties for businesses and other entities. Violations should be reported to law enforcement agencies overseeing the jurisdiction in which the alleged offense occurred.

The Attorney General’s office recently added a new section to its website, Know Your Employment Rights, to provide Michigan residents with more information on the legal rights of employees and employers under the executive order.

Additional information for employers can be found on the Guidance for Business page on the state’s website devoted to COVID-19.

A summary of the activities people can and cannot do under the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order can be found online here.

The state’s COVID-19 website also has information on the Governor’s other executive orders, directives and FAQs which allows for review of each order and its own questions and answers.