Emergency order: All Ingham County businesses must screen employees 

Health Department mandates all businesses check staff for COVID-19 symptoms 


WEDNESDAY, April 1 — While many businesses and services have closed or switched entirely to remote operations, those that remain open in Ingham County must screen their employees for the coronavirus. 

Under an emergency order issued last week by the Ingham County Health Department, all essential service providers and businesses in the county must conduct a brief health screening of workers and implement a social distancing plan to help prevent the local spread of coronavirus. 

“We must be absolutely vigilant and do all we can,” said County Health Officer Linda Vail explained in a recent press release. “We’re at a critical point in our community’s COVID-19 response. The best and safest thing for people to do is to stay home, but this order helps reduce the risk for those who must work or interact with workers while seeking essential services.” 

Under the emergency order, all employers that remain open must ask the following daily questions of their employees, only if they continue to report to work for in-person operations: 

  1. Are you exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, including but not limited to: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and/or diarrhea? If available, a physical temperature check is strongly recommended in lieu of a verbal confirmation.  
  2. Have you had any close contact in the last 14 days with someone with COVID-19? 
  3. Have you traveled internationally or outside of Michigan in the last 14 days? 

Any “yes” responses to those questions requires the employee to be excluded from physical, in-person workplace operations for at least seven days after symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours until they can report at three days of no fever and that other symptoms have improved. 

Employees who had contact with someone with a diagnosed case of COVID-19 cannot return to work for 14 days, under the order. Unless you live outside of Michigan, you cannot come and go from Michigan for a job, the order says. 

Additionally, the order requires that all in-person operations maintain a 6-foot distance between people whenever possible, including both customers and business personnel. The order must also be physically printed and posted at the entrance of all facilities that remain open. 

Officials also advised businesses to further limit the capacity inside their facilities to provide for additional social distancing between customers and employees. This includes — but is not limited to — using signs, contact barriers, entrance limits and specialized hours for customers. 

While precise enforcement techniques are unclear, those who disregard the emergency order could be subjected to a misdemeanor that includes up to 90 days in jail and/or a $200 fine. Calls to the Ingham County Health Department for more details were not immediately returned. 

Visit hd.ingham.org/coronavirus or call 517-887-4517 for more information. 

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