Michiganders will be waiting for their table at a restaurant from their car and can’t grab a drink from the office water fountain as business begins reopening in northern Michigan. 

NORTHERN MICHIGAN — Starting Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is allowing businesses in the northern reaches of the lower peninsula and the whole upper peninsula to begin reopening. 

This latest order, Executive Order 2020-92, comes as Michigan continues to show progress in reducing and containing the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and is another step toward the full re-engagement outlined by Whitmer’s MI Safe Start plan, which assesses how different businesses face risks of spreading an airborne pathogen and steps to mitigate that risk.

But these northern Michigan reopenings aren’t just business as usual. 

There are protections in place for different Michigan industries that a reopening business must adhere to. 

We broke down the full order. 

What All Businesses Have to Do

• All businesses reopening in northern Michigan Friday, and all businesses reopening for the foreseeable future for that matter, have to make sure certain protections are in place. Some requirements will be in place for every single business operating during the coronavirus pandemic. 

• All businesses need a coronavirus preparedness and response plan as of June 1 or within two weeks of their reopening. There should be at least one workplace supervisor tasked with executing that plan, and staff should be trained on infection control procedures in the workplace and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

• Employees must also know how to report unsafe working conditions.

• Employees should undergo a daily screening protocol when arriving at the worksite and should maintain as much distance from other employees as possible up to six feet. They must also be provided with non-medical grade face-covering which must be worn anywhere employees are within six feet of one another.

READ MORE: How Close Is Your Industry to Reopening in Michigan? We Break It Down.

• Those masks can’t be medical-grade. Medical-grade masks are reserved for critical responders like police and healthcare workers.

• If an employee with coronavirus is identified, businesses must notify the local public health department and coworkers within 24 hours. Businesses are expected to have a response plan to deal with any confirmed infections in the workplace. 

• Reasonable infection control procedures, promoting work-from-home where possible and prohibiting unnecessary business travel are also required. 

In addition to all that, some industries have specific safety precautions.

What Specific Industries Have to Do

Some protections vary based on what industry a particular business is in. A lot of businesses share needs when it comes to mitigating risk, but the particular combination of requirements is unique across a wide swath of industries. 

Outdoor Businesses

Outdoor businesses will have to continue to prohibit any activity that cannot keep social distance. Businesses also have to limit the in-person interaction with clients as much as possible. Tools should also be shared as little as possible. Also gloves, masks and face-shields must be worn when appropriate for the task. 


Construction businesses must have an entry screening protocol for employees, contractors and suppliers including a questionnaire covering symptoms and, where possible, temperature screenings. Construction businesses must also identify “choke points” where people have to stand in close proximity and limit access to them so that social distance can be maintained. Travel between sites should be done only when absolutely necessary and in-person contact around deliveries should be limited as well. 


Places like the Big Three automakers are reopening, and must have similar entry screening to those at construction companies. They must also suspend any non-essential visits including tours. Employees must also be trained on ways the virus is transmitted, how far it can travel in the air and how to use PPE. Shifts should be rotated where possible and breaks and lunches should be staggered. Personal contact, at deliveries and sharing of tools also should be limited. 

Research Laboratories

Laboratories that do not perform diagnostic testing must designate specific points of entry and times of entry. Those entry points will be used for screening people as is done in other sectors of the economy. Labs must also limit the number of people per square feet of floor space, and lay out tape where necessary to illustrate social distance. Office and dry lab work must still be conducted remotely. 

SEE ALSO: Michiganders Are Slipping on Social Distancing as the Weather Warms Up, New Data Show

Retail Stores

Retail open for in-store sales must make signs or pamphlets to show customers of any coronavirus-related policy changes. They also must post signs at their entrances reminding guests they are legally required to wear masks and that they shouldn’t enter if they are currently or have been sick. Stores should also put up physical barriers at checkout. 


Offices must designate entry points to reduce congestion at any particular point of entry. That’s one of several ways offices must reduce entry congestion to ensure social distancing. Water fountains need to be shut off. Masks must be worn in shared spaces and social gatherings where social distance can’t be observed are prohibited. All non-essential visitors and travel are suspended. 

Restaurants and Bars

All restaurants and bars must be limited to 50% of their normal capacity. Waiting areas will be closed and customers will wait in their cars for an open table. Buffets will be closed, Signs reminding customers to wear masks until they get to their table and not to enter if they feel sick or recently felt sick must be posted at entrances, physical guidelines in tape will be laid out to demonstrate proper social distance and policy changes must be noted on signs or in pamphlets. Shared items for customers, like utensils, must be limited. 

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