At a press conference this morning, Governor Whitmer issued a “stay at home” order for the entire state of Michigan due to the COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak. This order has some exemptions for essential services, and it takes effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 am, and it is scheduled to continue through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm. As the number of cases has risen over 1,000 in Michigan, Governor Whitmer is following several other Governors across the U.S., Ohio and Illinois being two of the most recent, in issuing a stay at home order.
The Executive Order specifically lists out certain exemptions, including the heavy construction industry, citing the federal guidance on essential critical infrastructure workforce.
Based on conversations MITA has had with the Whitmer administration and based on our interpretation of the federal guidance, “critical infrastructure workers” are considered to be the workforce involved in ALL modes of heavy construction, including but not limited to, road and bridge, airport, rail, water sewer, power distribution, underground, etc.. The Executive Order also explicitly states that “critical infrastructure workers” includes “workers at designated suppliers and distribution centers.”.
It is up to every owner agency to decide the status of their construction projects in the context of this Executive Order. It is recommended that since construction is an essential service under this Order, that contractors allow the owner agency to make the “shutdown” decision in order to protect contractual rights.
MDOT’s top leadership has affirmed with MITA that their construction projects will proceed. MDOT has indicated that all of their construction office field staff will be working.
The Executive Order does require that employers who employ critical infrastructure workers, designate that status in writing to those employees who may maintain “in-person” operations. This “designated critical infrastructure worker” documentation is critical should the employee be stopped and asked why they are violating the “Stay at Home” order.
Employers can supply this documentation on their own corporate letterhead. To ALL employees “This individual is an employee of (insert company name here) company, working on a critical infrastructure construction project, and is lawfully working per a directive of Governor Whitmer under the Executive Order issued on March 23, 2020.” This should be signed by a corporate owner.
In addition, under the executive order those businesses that support the essential critical infrastructure workforce are also considered essential and exempt. Therefore suppliers and service providers who support infrastructure projects are exempt under the order as well. Supplier and service providers may need to be “designated” by an owner and this request should be made at the project level.
Those workers who are exempt under the order are still required to maintain the CDC’s guidance on social distancing as much as possible, and businesses should maintain strict cleaning procedures within the confines of their business.
We have attached a document to help you with these processes. Please click here to read it.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact the following staff members:
Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President – 517-896-1493
Rob Coppersmith, VP of Membership Services – 517-896-1495
Glenn Bukoski, VP of Engineering Services – 517-256-0741
Rachelle VanDeventer, VP of Industry Relations – 517-331-1106
Lance Binoniemi, VP of Government Affairs – 517-282-2851
Greg Brooks, Director of Safety & Compliance – 517-507-2531