Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Protecting workers who stay home, stay safe
when they or their close contacts are sick
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. It is caused by a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans and easily spread from person to person. There is currently no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment for this disease.
On March 10, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services identified the first two presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. On that same day, I issued Executive Order 2020-4. This order declared a state of emergency across the state of Michigan under section 1 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the Emergency Management Act, 1976 PA 390, as amended, MCL 30.401-.421, and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, 1945 PA 302, as amended, MCL 10.31-.33.
In the three weeks that followed, the virus spread across Michigan, bringing deaths in the hundreds, confirmed cases in the thousands, and deep disruption to this state’s economy, homes, and educational, civic, social, and religious institutions. In response to the widespread and severe health, economic, and social harms posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I issued Executive Order 2020-33 on April 1, 2020. This order expanded on Executive Order 2020-4 and declared both a state of emergency and a state of disaster across the state of Michigan under section 1 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the Emergency Management Act, and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945.
The Emergency Management Act vests the governor with broad powers and duties to “cop[e] with dangers to this state or the people of this state presented by a disaster or emergency,” which the governor may implement through “executive orders, proclamations, and directives having the force and effect of law.” MCL 30.403(1)-(2). Similarly, the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 provides that, after declaring a state of emergency, “the governor may promulgate reasonable orders, rules, and regulations as he or she considers necessary to protect life and property or to bring the emergency situation within the affected area under control.” MCL 10.31(1).
To suppress the spread of COVID-19, protect this state’s critical health care resources from rapid depletion, and prevent needless deaths, I issued Executive Order 2020-21, ordering all people in Michigan to stay home and stay safe. This order limited gatherings and travel, and required all workers who are not necessary to sustain or protect life to stay home. Slowing the aggressively persistent spread of this destructive virus, however, requires more. Individuals permitted to go to work under Executive Order 2020-21 must stay home when they or their close contacts are sick—and they must not be punished for doing so. Accordingly, it is reasonable and necessary to provide certain protections against workplace discrimination to such individuals, to ensure they can do what is now most needed from them to protect the health and safety of this state and its residents.
Acting under the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and Michigan law, I order the following:
This section will cease to apply to anyone who, after showing symptoms, receives a negative COVID-19 test.
This section does not apply to the following classes of workers, provided that their employers’ rules governing occupational health allow them to go to work:
Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of Michigan.