Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently issued Executive Directive 2020-8 which requires state departments (including the Michigan State Police) and agencies to take certain actions to obtain greater compliance with COVID-19 related laws by businesses and others. What does this executive directive mean to business owners in Michigan?
COVID-19 cases increase
In recent weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan has risen significantly: from a rolling seven-day average of about 15 cases per million in June to about 50 cases per million in late July.
The governor believes that enhanced enforcement of the COVID-19 regulations and executive and epidemic orders is critical to suppressing the disease, allowing individuals and businesses to move forward, and the economy to recover.
Executive Directive 2020-8 includes:
- State departments and agencies are to make enforcement of COVID-19 related laws a priority in allocating their resources.
- State departments and agencies must consider prior violations of law, including violation of relevant COVID-19 executive orders and epidemic orders, in evaluating the suitability of an individual or business to obtain a state-issued license. For example, a restaurant or bar’s mode of operation and lax enforcement of COVID-19 related orders must be considered in deciding whether a license should be issued or renewed.
- Non-compliance with a COVID-19 executive order or epidemic order is presumptive evidence of a “public health hazard” or “imminent and substantial hazard to the public health.”
- A state department head or agency head who becomes aware of a law violation involving the public health, safety or welfare, including COVID-19 order violations, must consider whether the public health, safety or welfare warrants summary suspension of a license.
- The Michigan State Police must enforce COVID-19 orders in the same way that it enforces any other violation of law, including the exercise of appropriate enforcement discretion.
- Credible complaints of a violation of law by a licensee, including COVID-19 orders, brought to the attention of a State department or agency, must be referred to the relevant licensing authorities for consideration.
This directive is another tool utilized by the governor to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the State of Michigan.
The business attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are ready to assist business owners who are dealing with legal issues because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For information, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.