What Does Stay Home, Stay Safe Mean for Business?

To combat the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, Governor Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. For at least the next three weeks, all Michigan businesses and operations must temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, and all Michiganders must stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.
In quick summary, here is what you can and cannot do during this time:
YOU CAN:
  • Go to the grocery store or pick up take-out food.
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up a needed prescription.
  • Engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, biking.
  • Go to the hospital or secure any care necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve your health or the health of a loved one.
  • Fill your car with gas.
YOU MAY NOT:
  • Leave the home to work unless your employer designates you as a critical infrastructure worker.
  • Participate in any public gatherings.
  • Visit someone in the hospital, nursing home, or other residential care facilities (with limited exceptions).
  • Go to the mall or to restaurants.
Read a summary of the order here.

Still Confused About What Business is “Essential”?

This article from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is helpful: Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response

Additional Resources

From the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity 

For Employers

Work Share
The Work Share program allows employers to keep their employees working with reduced hours, while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/WorkShare.
Visit the Unemployment Insurance Agency website for:
Unpaid Leave vs. Termination
Due to the uncertainty regarding potential congressional action regarding whether furloughed workers will be able to access federal resources, employers are urged to place employees on temporary leave as opposed to termination. View the State’s guidance for employers contemplating potential layoffs.
Tax Assistance for Small Businesses
The Michigan Treasury Department is providing small businesses that have experienced disrupted operations due to the COVID-19 additional time to make their sales, use and withholding tax monthly payment. Small businesses scheduled to make these payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20. Penalties and interest penalties will be waived for 30 days. Learn more about penalties and interest online or by calling the Treasury Business Tax Call Center at 517-636-6925.

For Employees

Filing for Unemployment Benefits
Eligible employees are strongly encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA or by calling 866-500-0017. A factsheet on how to apply for benefits can also be found online.
Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-10 expands unemployment benefits to:
  • Sick Workers: Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
  • Workers Caring for Loved Ones: Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off
  • First Responders: Individuals working in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19 and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
The governor’s order also extends access to benefits for unemployed workers:
  • Increased Weeks: Benefits will be increased from 20 to 26 weeks.
  • Longer Application Time: The application eligibility period will be increased from 14 to 28 days.
  • Fewer Requirements: The in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.
Visit the Unemployment Insurance Agency website for:
Self-Employed Workers
The State is also seeking solutions for self-employed workers and independent contractors who traditionally do not have access to unemployment insurance. The governor has requested that President Trump issue a Major Disaster Declaration so that Individual Assistance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance through FEMA may be made available to additional Michiganders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.