Michigan employers coming up short supplying workers with face masks

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A couple wear face masks to protect against the Coronavirus outbreak as they visit Buckingham Palace in London, Saturday, March 14, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

The latest Executive Order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer requires employers to provide appropriate face coverings to all of their on-site employees.

However, appropriate face coverings remain in high demand and short supply, so Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking law enforcement to consider the good faith efforts of businesses that have tried, but have been unsuccessful, in obtaining face coverings when deciding whether to take criminal enforcement action against a non-compliant business. She’s also asking employees that can safely do so to use their own face coverings as protection until businesses provide them.

Here is the full statement from Nessel regarding the issue:

Although the latest Executive Order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (2020-59) requires employers to provide appropriate face coverings to all of their onsite employees starting at midnight tonight, appropriate face coverings remain in high demand and short supply. When Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was alerted to the problem earlier today, she issued the following statement:

“I know many business owners around the state are working hard to reopen and comply with the Governor’s Executive Order. Securing appropriate face coverings by the Monday deadline, though, appears to be a difficult task for some businesses given limited supplies. Therefore, I am asking our law enforcement partners around the state to consider the good faith efforts of businesses that have tried, but have been unsuccessful, in obtaining appropriate face coverings when deciding whether to take criminal enforcement action against a non-compliant business. While businesses work diligently to find appropriate face coverings to meet the requirements of the Executive Order, I urge employees that can safely do so to use their own face coverings as protection until businesses provide face coverings as required by the Governor’s order. The Governor’s order requires that each of us – businesses and employees – work together to safely and successfully reopen our economy. We appreciate the cooperation of law enforcement, employers and employees as we strive to carefully and thoughtfully reopen our state, one step at a time.”

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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