Michigan state government has established one of the most restrictive COVID-rules and regulations for businesses in the country – especially for the restaurant industry.
On Monday, November 2, new rules went into effect requiring food businesses to take down customer’s names and phone numbers as well as the day and time of their visit.
The state leaves the method of collecting the information up to the restaurant. You can have the customers fill out cards, you can have wait staff or hostesses collect the info, or any other method that works for you.
If you are a member of the Michigan Restaurant Association, they are offering signage, instructional videos, a support team, and a computer software program that will capture all the data needed. All the customer has to do is give you their name and phone number. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
On October 2, the Michigan Supreme Court invalidated every COVID-19 related executive order Governor Whitmer had issued since April 30, 2020, as an unconstitutional over-reach of her authority.
The Governor immediately ordered Michigan OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to issue emergency administrative rules which mirrored her previous executive orders.
MIOSHA has the authority to issue emergency administrative rules that last for 6 months and can be extended for another 6 months without going through the often-lengthy rulemaking process which involves public hearings and taking testimony from various public interests.
Under the emergency rules issued by MIOSHA, businesses must have a written COVID preparedness and response plan and provide training to their employees that covers workplace infection control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment, steps workers must take to notify businesses of any symptoms of COVID or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID and how to report unsafe working conditions.
On October 9, the MDHHS (Michigan Department of Health & Human Services) released an order requiring foodservice locations:
- Maintain six feet of distance between each party.
- Must not exceed 50 percent of normal seating capacity.
- Bars may only serve alcohol to gatherings seated at tables.
- Businesses must not allow indoor gatherings unless they require face masks except when seated at a restaurant eating or drinking.
- Close indoor common areas in which people normally congregate, dance, or mingle.
- Prohibit indoor gatherings anywhere alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on-site, except for where parties are seated and separated from one another by at least six feet and do not intermingle.
On October 22, the legislature in cooperation with the Governor’s office passed a series of bills to extend unemployment for another 26 weeks and to provide legal immunity for businesses sued if a customer or worker contracts COVID – as long as the business has complied with all COVID rules and orders by all government agencies in effect at the time of the alleged harm.
One of the bills also prohibits an employer from disciplining, discharging, or retaliating against employees who stay home because they test positive, display symptoms, or have had close contact with an individual who tests positive or displays the principal symptoms.
Government agencies have the power to compel businesses to comply with these orders with civil fines and/or suspension of your license to operate.
In other news, a new Federal stimulus package that would include another round of PPP is stalled and probably will not be passed until after the election.
And the non-taxability of forgiveness of the PPP loans is still be considered. See the accompanying article on this issue.