Whitmer Extends Protections For Nursing Home Residents, Staff

MICHIGAN — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week extended a pair of executive orders she said protect Michigan’s front line workers in grocery stores, pharmacies and long-term care facilities.

The governor’s orders extend existing safety measures, including 2 hours a week of reserved shopping time for vulnerable populations, to protect consumers and employees at grocery stores and pharmacies.

“For the past five months, Michiganders have stepped up and done their part to fight COVID-19, and frontline workers in our hospitals, grocery stores, nursing homes, and more have put their own lives on the line to protect our families,” Whitmer said. “Our fight is not over yet, and that is why I am extending these protections to ensure employees, residents and customers are able to work and live in a safe environment.”

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Whitmer extended Executive Order 2020-169, which maintains infection control protocols in nursing homes the governor put in place at the outset of this crisis, through Sept. 7. The order also protects residents from eviction and employees from retaliatory action for staying home when exhibiting symptoms.

Whitmer’s office said protecting seniors is a high priority for Whitmer. In addition to the executive orders implementing these protections, Whitmer’s office said she has worked tirelessly to procure tests and personal protective equipment to keep seniors safe.

The health and safety of nursing home residents and staff remains a top priority for Whitmer, according to her office. On June 26, she created the bipartisan Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Related: MI Order Extends Special Shopping Hours For Vulnerable People

She also signed Executive Order 2020-156, which continues the limited and temporary restrictions on the entry of individuals into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities and juvenile justice facilities in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus to vulnerable populations.

Executive Order 2020-168, which continues through Sept. 7, extends the following health and safety rules for grocery stores and pharmacies, among others:

  • Grocery stores and pharmacies must allocate at least two hours per week of shopping time for vulnerable populations.

  • If an employee tests positive for the coronavirus, the business must notify other employees without infringing on private health information.

  • Grocery stores and pharmacies must offer accommodations to vulnerable employees, such as low-risk assignments or a leave of absence.

This article originally appeared on the Across Michigan Patch