United StatesMichigan

State to check service industry COVID-19 rule compliance, issue possible $7,000 fines for ‘major deficiencies’

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(The Center Square) – The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) started a State Emphasis Program (SEP) to ensure service industry establishments are following COVID-19 safety rules.

“The vast majority of employers are working hard to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on their business and the economy. This new initiative is aimed at helping them educate employees and customers on best practices and assure that all workplaces remain safe for the community,” Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said in a press release.

The SEP aims to ensure rule compliance for employees to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in bars and restaurants, gas stations and more.

MIOSHA will inspect referred or random retail establishments to review rule compliance.

The business could be fined up to $7,000 if the inspections “determine major deficiencies in the employer’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plans,” a news release said.

“Employers need to put certain safeguards in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety and health of their employees.”

The Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) has said it appreciated the order but that determining which customers are truly exempt is “an impossible task.”

Businesses that provide service to or allow an unmasked, non-exempt customer inside could lose their license.

Guidance and resources for each industry are here:

Rules include:

  • Conducting daily health screenings of employees and contractors
  • Requiring employees and customers wear face coverings properly
  • Considering changes to indoor ventilation to reduce transmission risk
  • Implementing enhanced cleaning protocols when employees or the public become sick
  • Posting required signs and notifying customers of the mask rule and not entering if they feel sick
  • Maintaining compliance with social distancing and capacity limits of the establishment
  • Ensuring that they have and use a preparedness and response plan.

Whitmer in early July mandated customers wear a mask when inside businesses, with a few exceptions

The additional enforcement may stem from a COVID-19 outbreak in June at an Ingham County bar that resulted in nearly 190 infections.

The state reported 488 new coronavirus cases on Monday and five related deaths.

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