MI Safe Start Plan: Where We’re at, How to Plan for Restart

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As the amount of new COVID-19 cases begins to slow, it’s time to start preparing for the next phases of the crisis. As the governor’s administration starts to ease restrictions of her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, they will be monitoring whether the virus is growing, flattening, or declining in all areas of Michigan. Experts will also consider whether the health care system is handling the number of cases currently and if they could handle a sharp increase. Access to testing is also critical.

Gov. Whitmer’s “MI Safe Start: A Plan to Reengage Michigan’s Economy” includes six stages:

  1. Uncontrolled growth: Increasing number of new cases every day, likely to overwhelm the health system. Only critical infrastructure remains open.
  2. Persistent spread: Continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity. Only critical infrastructure remains open, with lower-risk recreational activities allowed.
  3. Flattening: Epidemic is no longer increasing and health system capacity is sufficient for current needs. Specified lower-risk businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.
  4. Improving: Epidemic clearly decreasing and health system capacity is strong with robust testing and contact tracing. Additional businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.
  5. Containing: Epidemic levels are extremely low and outbreaks can be quickly contained. Health system capacity is strong with robust testing and tracing. Most businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.
  6. Post-pandemic: Community spread is not expected to return (e.g., because of a vaccine) and the economy is fully reopened.

Michigan is likely in the “flattening” stage of the pandemic. While offices are not open yet, manufacturing and construction have reopened, along with curbside retail. Testing and contact tracing must increase during this phase to allow Michigan to prepare for the next stages of reopening. Restarting more sectors of the economy increases the risk of more cases, so the health care system must be prepared.

MI Safe Start gives guidelines for how employers can keep workers safe and healthy at work. These best practices fall into five categories:

  1. Access control: Mandatory symptoms questionnaires, on-site temperature checks, and other methods to document where COVID-19 could enter into the workplace
  2.  Social distancing: Remote work, restricting close contact situations, physical barriers
  3. Sanitation and hygiene: Disinfecting surfaces, hand washing available, restricting shared tools
  4. Personal protective equipment (PPE): Face masks, gloves, face shields
  5. Contact tracing and isolation: Protocols in place, quarantine, notification procedures

As retailers and dealerships can now see customers by appointment, businesses should prepare measures for when they are allowed to resume operations or partially reopen.

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