Frequently asked questions on which businesses must close, who can stay open

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LANSING (WJRT) (3/23/2020) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay at home order has created a lot of questions about which businesses are required to close and who can stay open.

The order announced Monday morning requires everyone to stay home for three weeks unless they are traveling for limited reasons. All businesses deemed nonessential to providing basic public services must close.

The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Many people are wondering what businesses are allowed to remain open and which employers must close. In response, Whitmer issued some frequently asked questions to help clear up the confusion.

Q: Does in-person work that is essential to sustain or protect human life also include in-person work to prevent severe psychological harm?

A: Yes

Q: Are car dealerships open?

A: Auto sales is closed, but auto repair and maintenance can remain open subject to the limitations in section 5 of Executive Order 2020-21.

Q: Are childcare workers considered critical infrastructure employees?

A: Childcare workers are considered critical infrastructure workers but only to the extent necessary to serve the children or dependents of critical infrastructure workers as defined in Executive Order 2020-21

Q: How does this order impact my custody agreement?

A: Individuals may also travel as required by law enforcement or a court order, including the transportation of children pursuant to a custody agreement under section 7 (b) (3) of this order. Court ordered parent child visits and caseworker visits continue but these visits must not always be in person. Alternatives including telephone and videoconference are acceptable. The only time that an in-person visit is required is when we believe that child safety is at stake.

Q: Are bicycle shop employees considered critical infrastructure for purposes of Executive Order 2020-21?

A: In general, no. Workers at bicycle repair shops can be designated as critical infrastructure workers only if they provide maintenance for bicycles that other critical infrastructure workers use to get to their jobs. We expect that this condition will be satisfied very rarely.

Q: Are people who repair homes considered critical infrastructure employees for the purposes of Executive Order 2020-21?

In general, yes. Under the order, critical infrastructure workers include workers “who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.” To the extent your workers perform jobs that are necessary to the safety, sanitation, and operation of homes, they may be designated as critical infrastructure workers.

Q: Are hotels and motels to remain open under Executive Order 2020-21?

A: In general, hotels and motels may remain open, but must limit functions and operations.

Under the order, workers at hotels and motels are critical infrastructure workers to the extent they “provide temporary or permanent housing for… shelter ... for ... otherwise needy individuals.” For purposes of the order, the term “otherwise needy individuals” includes anyone residing in a hotel or motel at the time the order was issued or anyone seeking shelter during the current pandemic. Hotels and motels may also remain open to the extent they are used for COVID-19 mitigation and containment efforts and to serve critical infrastructure workers.

Hotels and motels may therefore remain open, but they may only engage in activities providing shelter and basic needs (such as carry-out/delivery/room-service food) and, in engaging in those activities, they must limit guest-to-guest, guest-to-staff, and staff-to-staff interactions as much as possible and must adopt all other mitigation measures required by section 5(c) of the order. They may not provide additional in-house amenities such as gyms, pools, spas, entertainment faculties, meetings rooms or like facilities, or provide in-house dining.