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Whitmer prohibits employers from retaliating against ill workers

 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces that she has ordered all K-12 schools in Michigan to close from March 16 to April 5 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces that she has ordered all K-12 schools in Michigan to close from March 16 to April 5 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (WJRT)
Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 11:40 AM EDT
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(4/3/2020) - Michigan workers who feel coronavirus symptoms must stay at home, but employers are prohibited from retaliating against them under a new order.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the order Friday clarifying state policy that anyone who suffers from fever, atypical cough, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms and everyone in their household should remain home under quarantine. They can only leave if absolutely necessary.

The order also prohibits employers from firing, disciplining or retaliating in any way against workers who stay home because they or something in their household has coronvirus symptoms.

“People who are prioritizing the health and safety of their families, neighbors and loved ones during this crisis should not be punished by their workplace," Whitmer said.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who is Michigan's chief medical executive, said staying home is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is the illness caused by coronavirus.

“Ensuring those who experience symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 and the people they live with remain in their homes will help mitigate community spread,” she said. “It’s crucial that anyone experiencing symptoms, and those they live with, stay home and stay safe.”

Whitmer said the new order announced Friday applies to anyone who could legally travel for essential purposes under her "Stay Safe, Stay Home" order. Sick people can only leave home for groceries, medicine or supplies to sustain life under the new order.

They also can go outside for recreational purposes, but must remain at least six feet away from all other people. Anyone who leaves home with coronavirus or any of its symptoms is asked to wear a mask, bandanna or cover over their nose and mouth.

Anyone who experiences coronavirus symptoms should not leave home for three days after symptoms end and seven days after the symptoms appear or after a COVID-19 test comes back positive, Whitmer said.

Anyone with close contact to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or who tests positive for the illness should stay home for 14 days, which is the incubation period for symptoms to appear.

Health care workers, first responders, child care workers and corrections officers are exempt from Whitmer's new order. The order is effective immediately and will last through the coronavirus State of Emergency.

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