Gov. Whitmer to Reopen Construction May 7

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Continuing a strategic and phased approach to opening the economy, senior officials from the Whitmer administration have shared that the next sector to open will be construction on May 7. Earlier in the week, Whitmer said that construction and other outdoor enterprises are at a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 would be the next phase of businesses to open.

“The continued pragmatic and safe measures to get Michigan back to work that Gov. Whitmer is taking, such as opening up the construction sector on May 7, align with the Chamber’s point of view for reactivating the economy in phases,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “A recent Chamber poll showed the majority of workers, 61%, felt safe returning to work, and 60% reported they trusted their employer to keep them safe. The Governor’s focus on public health infused with thoughtful input from business will yield better health and economic outcomes.”

This comes after the governor made revisions to the initial “Stay at Home, Stay Safe” order last week, relaxing some restrictions on retailers and other industries such as landscapers, lawn-service companies, and more.

Gov. Whitmer is approaching the strategy of reopening of the state economy with the support of statewide business organizations. A group of health care and business leaders from across the state formed the Michigan Economic Recovery Council (MERC) earlier this month. The Council, which is also being advised by the Detroit Regional Chamber, Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the Grand Rapids Chamber, and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, is recommending to approach the reopening of businesses in phases to avoid a second wave.

The Council and governor are considering workplace environment, geographical region, and the detected prevalence of COVID-19 when assessing what businesses should reopen next.

Identified as the MERC regions, the Council broke the state into eight geographical areas that will be used to track the intensity and evolution of COVID-19. When looking at the risk factors of locations, the Council and governor are also considering the health care capacity of the regions as well.

MERC is also considering the workplace environment and broke the state into nine types, such as:

  1. Office (29 percent of the workforce)
  2. Industrial (19 percent)
  3. Inpatient and outpatient health care (13 percent)
  4. Retail (12 percent)
  5. Restaurant and lodging (8 percent)
  6. Schools and colleges (6 percent)
  7. Construction (4 percent)
  8. Outdoor occupations (4 percent);
  9. Other (4 percent)

The University of Michigan’s public health experts have done a risk assessment of each of the nine identified workplaces to help guide safety protocol for businesses when they reopen.

Along with geographical regions and workplace environment, the group is also assessing the risk factors such as in-person interactions with the public; the contact and distract between coworkers; shared tools; machines and equipment; required work travel; worker density per square foot; and the pre-existing health conditions of employees.

This methodology paired with a set of best practices created by the Council will ensure that Michigan reopens properly, providing extensive guidance to businesses of all sizes. Learn more about the Council.

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