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New COVID-19 Protections for Businesses and Employees

This communication is a briefing from the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County related to COVID-19. As you know, this is a fluid situation causing significant economic impacts to area businesses. The EDA will continue to provide frequent updates and resources intended to help your business in this difficult time. We also recommend frequently visiting our dedicated COVID-19 website for the latest business-related updates including resources to restart your business.

Summary: Businesses gained legal protection if people get sick at their operations as long as they have followed government rules related to COVID-19, and workers will be able to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to the virus under a series of bipartisan bills signed into law yesterday by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. 

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation that protects businesses that comply with “all relevant COVID-19 related statutes, orders and rules issued by federal, state, and local authorities” from liability if someone becomes sick at a business, and protects businesses from liability under the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Act if a worker gets sick at work.

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Additionally, the new legislation provides protection for workers from retaliation if they stay home after they have been exposed or show symptoms of COVID-19. Violations could result in damage awards beginning at $5,000.

Several other bills were also signed into law, including protecting consumers against surprise medical billing, extending certain permits, licenses and registrations until December 11th, codifying protections for medical providers and facilities and requiring evaluations by regulators of nursing homes during the pandemic and pushing towards a statewide visitation policy for nursing homes.

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