New Limits on Gatherings and the Closing of Certain Bars & Remote Work Clarification

On July 29, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Orders 2020-160 and 2020-161, amending Michigan’s Safe Start Order and issuing revised workplace safeguards. Under the Safe Start Order, starting July 31, 2020, statewide indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and bars will be closed for indoor service across the state, including in Regions 6 and 8. On July 31, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-162, amending order 2020-160, and clarifies that businesses in Regions 6 and 8 remain subject to the prior standard on remote work (more below).

Clarification on Remote Work

Amendment to Executive Order 2020-160 (emphasis added): “The restriction described in section 1 of Executive Order 2020-160 does not apply in Regions 6 and 8. Instead, in Regions 6 and 8, any work that is capable of being performed remotely (i.e., without the worker leaving his or her home or place of residence) should be performed remotely.”

This means that the standard for remote work, “should be performed remotely,” has not changed in regions 6 & 8.

What are indoor gatherings?

Per order 2020-160 section 7(a) (emphasis added): “If it is indoors, the gathering or event does not exceed 10 people […]”

What is not an indoor gathering?

Section 7(b): “Subsection (a) does not apply to the incidental gathering of persons in a shared space, including an airport, bus station, factory floor, restaurant, shopping mall, public pool, or workplace.”

How do I determine if my bar must shut down indoor bar operations?

Order 2020-160 affects (emphasis added):

“5. Bars. Food service establishments, as defined in section 1107(t) of the Michigan Food Law, 2000 PA 92, as amended, MCL 289.1107(t), that hold on-premises retailer licenses to sell alcoholic beverages must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.

(a) Food service establishments that are closed for indoor service but open for outdoor service must prohibit patrons from entering the establishment, except to walk through in order to access the outdoor area, to leave the establishment, or
to use the restroom.

(b) For purposes of calculating its percentage of gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages under section 1, a food service establishment must use:

(1) Gross receipts from 2019; or

(2) If the establishment was not in operation in 2019, gross receipts from the date the establishment opened in 2020.”

Other Important Changes

Per order 2020-160 under section 8(b), outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people may be held, with precautions in place. Those precautions include:

“(1) The gathering or event is designed to ensure that persons not part of the same household maintain six feet of distance from one another;

(2) Persons not part of the same household maintain six feet of distance from one another;”

All businesses must now follow safety protocol outlined in order 2020-161. 

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