Madison Phillips works at replacing plants for sale at Ray Wiegand's Nursery in Macomb, Mich., Monday, April 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Madison Phillips works at replacing plants for sale at Ray Wiegand's Nursery in Macomb, Mich., Monday, April 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

From posters to provided PPE, Michigan is helping businesses adhere to safety guidelines as the state sees another surge in cases.

MICHIGAN — All Michiganders are now required to wear face masks in public spaces, and state officials are helping businesses get what they need to protect employees and remind customers of new rules.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has a collection of online resources for both employees and businesses. 

They are drafted by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) and include ready-to-print posters illustrating the legal requirements around wearing face masks. 

As for the personal protective equipment (PPE) itself, Pure Michigan Business Connect, a program through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, offers businesses in Michigan a procurement process to access the needed safety tools. 

“By requiring everyone in their establishment to mask up, Michigan businesses can help keep their employees, workplaces and customers safe,” said LEO Director Jeff Donofrio. “Employers who violate the Governor’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance and OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 create additional hazards for workers and put the public at risk. We all must do our part to prevent the spread of this virus.”

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department told WDIV that violators of the executive orders will be warned, and if deputies need to circle back, a citation for $500 will be issued. 

The Science Behind Masks

LEO explained that studies have shown masks have an important role in slowing the spread of the virus. A study in Germany showed that mandatory mask policies slowed the rate of growth of the virus by 40 cases a day. Similarly, the University of Washington found that more than 40,000 lives would be spared nationwide if 95% of the population wore a mask while in public.

As Michigan’s daily cases have significantly spiked over the past month, Michigan has taken a more cautious policy position requiring the use of masks in public spaces. 

Much like with previous executive orders, sheriffs differ as to whether or not they will enforce the mask laws. Saginaw County’s sheriff’s office said it did not consider the order to be law (it is) and would therefore refuse to enforce it. Van Buren County’s sheriff said that he believed people did not understand the rationale for the order and therefore would not fine people. 

“We will remain vigilant to equip employers and their staff with proper guidance and tools needed to keep Michigan workplaces safe,” said COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan. “Our priority is protecting workers and this Executive Order allows us to do that effectively.”

6 Top Reminders For Returning

LEO and MIOSHA recommend employees take the following safety precautions: 

  • Wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Limit contact with others by remaining six feet apart
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and tools routinely
  • Stay home if you or someone in your household is sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Practice self-screenings to check for any abnormal/new symptoms 

Anyone with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the new hotline at 855-SAFE-C19 (855-723-3219).