Northwest MI businesses must monitor employee health and distancing

Apr 5, 2020


Credit Health Department of Northwest Michigan Facebook

Local businesses in some northern Michigan counties are now required to screen employees and ensure social distancing measures are taken.

The new requirements are mandated under a Health Department of Northwest Michigan Emergency order that goes into effect Monday at noon.

The rules apply to businesses in Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Leelanau and Otsego counties.

Under the emergency order, the health department is requiring essential businesses to screen all employees not working from home for symptoms of illness.


They must check with employees verbally for symptoms and take the temperatures of employees to confirm their health. Employees can take their own temperature and self-report if a touchless thermometer is not available.

Employers also must check if the worker had any close contact in the last 14 days with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 or been told to quarantine by the health department. Workers who fit those criteria must be excluded from work for a set number of days.

All employee monitoring must be documented and available to the health department upon request.

The health department is also requiring essential businesses to limit capacity inside facilities and create plans for a six foot distance between customers and between customers and workers.

The rules don’t apply to health care workers, first responders or law enforcement.

The health department says the measures are meant to protect critical workers and the general public.

“Given that COVID-19 presents a serious threat to public health, our local health departments have been working to ensure the health and safety of critical infrastructure workers,” Lisa Peacock, the health officer for the department, said in a news release. “As the threat of COVID-19 increases, I now feel it necessary to take additional steps to protect critical infrastructure workers and the general public.”

More information about complying with the new order can be found at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan's coronavirus website or on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guidelines and Resources for Businesses.

Further questions can be answered by health department representatives via their Public Health Information Line 1-800-386-5959.