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Whitmer order outlines safety guidelines for grocery stores, restaurants

The order outlines safety guidelines that many stores have already implemented.

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order Sunday that mandates safety measures for the food service industry and pharmacies to help limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Under this order, the deadline for food establishments to submit licenses and registrations with local health departments has also been extended 60 days past the end of the state of emergency.

Any place that sells food, grocery stores or restaurants, and pharmacies are mandated to employ the following safety measures:

  • Provide access to handwashing facilities
  • Require checkout employees to wear a covering over their noses and mouths, like a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief. 
  • Allow employees sufficient time to wash hands
  • Use best efforts to have checkout employees disinfect their hands between orders, provide disinfecting wipes at cash registers and entrance points so customers can clean carts and baskets
  • Close self-serve prepared food stations and eliminate free samples and tasting stations
  • Adopt cleaning procedures set by the CDC
  • Prohibit employees who are sick from reporting to work and send employees home if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Accommodate employees who are a part of a vulnerable population by giving them lower-exposure work assignments or give them the option to take an unpaid leave of absence. 
  • Close to the public at night so stores can be cleaned.
  • Encourage cash transactions to be processed at self-checkout kiosks.
  • Develop and daily screening program for all staff, including checking their temperatures and looking for COVID-19 symptoms of a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or diarrhea. Employees should also be screened if they traveled outside of Michigan or had contact with a COVID-19 case within two weeks.

Read the full executive order here

In addition to outlining these safety guidelines, which many stores have already implemented, the order also highlights two other directions that are already in place. 

In the extended stay at home order, it says that people are required to wear masks in public enclosed places. This is repeated in Sunday's order. 

Additionally, this order mandates that grocery stores and pharmacies must create at least two hours a week dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations. 

This order is effective immediately and continues through May 22. 

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