Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Monday that she hopes to start returning workers to office space in the coming weeks, and possibly before April 14 for an emergency rule banning office work where work could have been done from home.
Whitmire said Paul W. Smith of WJR She would like to start re-engaging these workers and companies in Michigan before mid-April.
She described the plan to return to office as “incremental” and said she had been working with business leaders with the Michigan Department of Occupational Health and Safety and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on a strategy to make this possible.
“Hopefully, if our positive numbers remain low where they are and our vaccination rates are high where they are, we will be able to do so in the coming weeks,” said Whitmer.
Her comments come four days after the business rooms and Commanders unleashed an alliance, they safely reopened MichiganThe governor called for personal work restrictions to be eased on offices across Michigan as long as safety measures were in place. The state said at the time that it was “very likely” to extend the rules beyond April 14 while the agency drew up a permanent plan to return to business.
On Monday, the coalition said it was “encouraging” that the governor appeared to be listening to the companies and argued that the companies themselves should be trusted to develop their own plans for a safe return.
“We look forward to seeing the details of how we work together, but our jobs and our downtowns and cities are suspended every day that goes by without a plan,” said coalition spokesman John Selleck.
MIOSHA argued that, even under current emergency rules, more companies can bring back employees as they cannot work from home. But companies have expressed confusion about the strictness of the work-from-home order and how it interacts with the separate Department of Health and Human Services that bans unnecessary office work that can be done from home.
The actual language of MIOSHA requires the employer to “create a policy prohibiting personal work for employees to the extent that their work activities can be completed remotely. …”
“They are asking employers to determine whether remote work for employees is feasible to help ensure that the transmission of COVID-19 is mitigated as much as possible,” said Shawn Egan, the agency’s workplace safety director in Michigan COVID-19, last week.