By Ronald S. Nixon

On September 3, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued three executive orders resuming organized sports and reopening indoor gyms and swimming pools (EO 2020-176) subject to new workplace protections (EO 2020-175) and extending the State of Emergency through October 1, 2020 (EO 2020-177).

In the new Safe Start order, EO 2020-176, she allows indoor gyms and swimming pools to reopen starting September 9, 2020, subject to the protections imposed by EO 2020-175.  The order also allows organized sports to resume, subject to precautions, including those in bowling alleys, roller rinks, and ice rinks, which remain closed to other patrons.  The order defines “organized sports” to mean “competitive athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and organized by an institution or association that sets and enforces rules to ensure the physical health and safety of all participants.” 

The new Safe Start order also relaxes some of the existing restrictions for counties in Michigan’s upper peninsula and the northern tip of the lower peninsula (Safe Start Regions 6 and 8).  For example, workers in those zones may return to the workplace if they wish (but they should work at home if they can) and bars and restaurants in those areas are subject to lesser capacity restrictions and no longer are subject to the 70% food sales threshold required for indoor service in bars in the rest of Michigan. 

EO 2020-175 only adds new protective measures for gyms and swimming pools.  It makes no changes to existing protections for other workplaces, which are reissued in this order.  Please contact Kemp Klein if you have any questions about these new orders.

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