What Businesses Need to Know About the Governor’s Vaccination Plans

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For more than a year, the Chamber and MICHauto have been working with Gov. Whitmer and state agencies to help Michigan’s critical industries return to work with the MI Safe Start Plan. In February, the Chamber joined a group of statewide business leaders to urge a safe return to offices. In March, MICHauto called for a metrics-based approach that would lead to a responsible opening of offices. Decreasing cases and the rapid administration of vaccines, the governor and LEO have applied our consultation on behalf of the business community.

More than 50% of Michigan residents age 16 and older have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. This milestone follows Gov. Whitmer’s April 29 announcement of a phased plan to reopen Michigan. If vaccination rates continue, the state could be just weeks away from offices reopening, and now is the time for businesses to be making plans for how to safely and effectively welcome back employees.

What’s in the Plan

 

  • Phase One: 55% of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks
    • Allows in-person work for all sectors of business.
  • Phase Two: 60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks
    • Increases indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25%.
    • Increases indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes to 25%.
    • Increases capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50%.
    • Lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.
  • Phase Three: 65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks
    • Lifts all indoor % capacity limits, requiring only social distancing between parties.
    • Further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings.
  • Phase Four 70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks
    • Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order such that MDHHS will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants.

Considerations for Business Returning to In-Person Work

The State’s Return-to-Office Workgroup has also provided recommendations for businesses to help them prepare for in-person work.

MIOSHA Guidance

  • Provide additional examples to help employers interpret and implement MIOSHA guidance.
  • Consider addressing additional questions including:
    • Mentoring and training of employees.
    • Task-based work functions (e.g., some work in-person, some remote).
    • Clarify employer’s ability to update the policy as needed and recognize changing conditions.
    • Consider individual feasibility based on an employee’s ability to successfully complete their functions remotely (e.g., classification may be remote, but individually employee either struggles or does not have the tools/ability to function remotely).
    • Consider collaboration and team functions.
    • Consider employee well-being/mental health.
  • Consider communicating that more in-person work is permitted.

MDHHS Guidance:

  • Provide ongoing updates to the  6 guidanceas necessary and regularly to reflect current trends of vaccination and infection.

Employers – Reducing Office Density:

  • Focus on task-based collaboration and specific needs for in-person work while allowing other tasks and teamwork to be completed remotely when feasible.
  • Consider utilizing hybrid work strategies to promote social distancing.

Employers – Addressing Operational Obstacles:

  • Daily Health Screenings – stagger entry times to avoid congregation at screening checkpoints, consider using screening apps to provide prior to entry.
  • Entry/exit through common entrances and elevators – stagger start and end times as practical to avoid congregation.

Employers – Quarantine, Isolation, and Testing Guidelines:

  • Ensure policy clearly articulates the ability of employees to quarantine/isolate/test without risk of job loss.
  • Promote the use of sick leave tax credits available for employers with 500 or fewer employees to provide paid leave.

Employers – Caregiving Resources for Employees:

  • Establish a return policy that provides employees with caregiving obligations to continue remote work regardless of the cohort group returning, including caregiving of immuno-compromised persons.
  • Promote the use of family leave tax credits available for employers with 500 or fewer employees to provide paid leave.

Employers – Vaccines:

  • Provide up-to-date information to employees on the vaccines.
  • Provide links to vaccination sites/sign-up information.
  • Consider partnering where possible with local public health to offer on-site vaccination.
  • Add COVID-19 vaccination to existing wellness programs and benchmarks.

Learn more at Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety.


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