Manufacturing companies will be allowed to resume in-person work in Michigan starting May 11.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has extended Michigan’s Stay-at-Home order until May 28.

The order, made on Thursday, still directs people to stay at home unless they’re partaking in an essential activity, such as grocery shopping or providing necessary care for a relative in another household, but allows for manufacturing companies to resume in-person work with safeguards in place.   

Whitmer already extended Michigan’s state of emergency declaration to May 28 last week. Declaring a state of emergency gives the governor expanded authority in responding to a crisis. But Republican members of the state legislature filed a lawsuit against the governor Wednesday, saying she overstepped her powers by declaring an extension without getting approval from the legislature.  

Has anything changed? 

Yes. Starting May 11, manufacturing companies — including Michigan’s Big 3 auto manufacturers — may resume in-person work, as long as they adhere to proper social distancing and screening methods.  

The companies will have to train their employees on how COVID-19 is transmitted, the signs and symptoms of the virus and protocol for notifying employers of signs or symptoms. All manufacturing employees who resume in-person work will be required to wear masks when they can’t consistently maintain a distance of six feet from each other.  

“We’re not out of the woods yet, but this is an important step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly,” Whitmer said in a statement Thursday.  

“As we continue to phase in sectors of our economy, I will keep working around the clock to ensure our businesses adopt best practices to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19. When we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”   

Will it affect you?  

Unless you work at a manufacturing company or another industry — such as real-estate, construction, or outdoor work — that has been allowed to resume under previous executive orders, things won’t change much for you.  

The most recent executive order still prohibits social gatherings of people from different households and requires Michiganders to wear masks in public indoor spaces.   

However, under Thursday’s order, people may now be asked to temporarily remove a face covering when entering a space for identification purposes.  

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