Whitmer reinstates coronavirus restrictions and protections for Michigan workers

Employers can't punish workers for staying home due to coronavirus
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives a press conference on Michigan's coronavirus response.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives a press conference on Michigan's coronavirus response.
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 3:03 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is imposing a series of restrictions and protections to prevent the spread of coronavirus among Michigan workers.

The order announced Friday comes in response to the end of the $600 per week federal unemployment payments, which may force more people back to work even with they are sick.

“Since day one of this fight, I have urged people to do their part to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19, and that includes staying home when you are sick,” Whitmer said. “But after the federal government allowed pandemic unemployment assistance benefits to lapse at the end of July, more working people are feeling pressure to return to work so they can provide for themselves and their families, even if they’re sick.”

Whitmer’s order again prohibits employers from firing, disciplining or retaliating against workers in any way when they stay home due possible COVID-19 infection or to care for a loved one with the illness.

Employees also are ordered to stay home if they feel coronavirus symptoms until 24 hours have passed since the symptoms disappear without medication or 10 days after the symptoms appear. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, a new uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe headache, and new loss of taste or smell.

“As we have reengaged sectors of our economy, and in turn put thousands of Michiganders back to work, it is still vital that employees feel empowered to make the right choice to say home if they, or someone they have been in contact with is sick,” Whitmer said. “These protections will help to slow the spread of the virus and save lives, but we still need the federal government to work together in a bipartisan way to expand unemployment benefits and provide support for our workers and their families.”  

Anyone with a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus -- or anyone in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient -- should stay home as much as possible to avoid spreading the illness. Only essential trips to obtain food, medicine or medical care are advised.

However, individual outdoor activities like walking or bicycling are encouraged as long as they remain 6 feet away from everyone else.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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