Confused About the Governor’s New Executive Order?

Here’s a Summary of Executive Order 2020-59

April 24, 2020 – Earlier today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-59. This replaces Executive Order 2020-42, the “Stay at Home” order which was issued back on March 23rd. The Governor’s new Executive Order (EO) is in close alignment with other Midwest states’ strategies, as she has been in close coordination with the Governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. This new EO starts immediately and is in effect through May 15th.

In delivering her new EO, the Governor stressed that people should remain home as much as possible, avoiding unnecessary trips, which might further the spread of COVID-19.

New stipulations, restrictions, and allowances are summarized as follows:


  • People are required to wear non-medical, homemade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. Masks will not be required when people are taking a walk in their neighborhood, but outings such as shopping will require one.
  • Public and private gatherings of any number of people who are not part of the same household are still banned

Businesses: (summary; see below for details for business and retailers)

  • The EO still broadly prohibits in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life
  • The EO clarifies that any business or operation that employs workers who perform resumed activities — but that does not sell necessary supplies — may sell any goods through remote sales via delivery or at the curbside, and bring those employees back to work
  • The EO outlines activities that may resume:
    • Landscapers, lawn-service companies, and nurseries can return to work, subject to strict social distancing
    • Retailers to that do not sell necessary supplies may reopen for curbside pick-up and for delivery
    • Big box stores can reopen “closed areas,” like garden centers
    • Bike repair and maintenance can come back online
    • Moving/Storage operations may open
    • Retailers that don’t sell “necessary” supplies may reopen for curbside pick-up and delivery, and customers are allowed to leave home to pick up “non-necessary supplies at the curbside from a store that must otherwise remain closed to the public
    • Advertising for non-essential goods & services is now permitted
  • Businesses must limit in-person interaction with clients and patrons
  • Employers must:
    • Provide, at minimum, cloth face masks for employees
    • Limit the sharing of tools & equipment
    • Frequently cleaning frequently-touched services


  • Bans gatherings of any size where six feet of distance cannot be maintained
  • Now permits boating and golfing (no carts; must social distance)
  • Now permits travel between two residents in Michigan or even outside of state
  • Other travel is still prohibited
  • As they have been throughout the emergency, state parks may remain open

Details for business:

Businesses, operations, and government agencies that remain open for in-person work must adhere to sound social distancing practices and measures, which include but are not limited to:

  • Developing a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with recommendations in Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, developed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and available here. Such plan must be available at company headquarters or the worksite.
  • Restricting the number of workers present on premises to no more than is strictly necessary to perform the in-person work permitted under this order.
  • Promoting remote work to the fullest extent possible.
  • Keeping workers and patrons who are on premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible.
  • Increasing standards of facility cleaning and disinfection to limit worker and patron exposure to COVID-19, as well as adopting protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.
  • Adopting policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Implementing any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the CDC.
  • For businesses and operations whose in-person work is now permitted (landscapers, nurseries, garden centers, pest control, maintenance & groundskeepers for recreation businesses, and moving or storage operations), the following additional measures must also be taken:
  • Barring gatherings of any size in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.
  • Limiting in-person interaction with clients and patrons to the maximum extent possible and barring any such interaction in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.
  • Providing personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks as appropriate for the activity being performed.
  • Adopting protocols to limit the sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible and to ensure frequent and thorough cleaning of tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces.

Details for retailers that remain open for in-store sales:

  • Must establish lines to regulate entry, with markings for patrons to enable them to stand at least six feet apart from one another while waiting. Stores should also explore alternatives to lines, including by allowing customers to wait in their cars for a text message or phone call, to enable social distancing and to accommodate seniors and those with disabilities.
  • Must adhere to the following restrictions:
    1. For stores of less than 50,000 square feet of customer floor space, must limit the number of people in the store (including employees) to 25% of the total occupancy limits established by the State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal
    2. (For stores of more than 50,000 square feet, must:
      • Limit the number of customers in the store at one time (excluding employees) to 4 people per 1,000 square feet of customer floor space.
      • Create at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations, which for purposes of this order are people over 60, pregnant women, and those with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
  • May continue to sell goods other than necessary supplies if the sale of such goods is in the ordinary course of business.
  • Must consider establishing curbside pick-up to reduce in-store traffic and mitigate outdoor lines.