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Michigan Licensed Beverage Association

Serving Liquor Licensees Since 1939

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Mason Doerr  | Published on 5/18/2020


Governor Whitmer today announced the partial reopening of the Upper Peninsula (Region 8) and Traverse City area (Region 6) with restrictions this Friday at 12:01 a.m. just before Memorial Day weekend.

Many businesses, including bars, restaurants and retail will be able to open with a 50 percent occupancy restriction. These businesses must develop a preparedness and response plan by June 1, or within two weeks of resuming in-person activities, whichever is later (see employer/employee Return to Work guidance forms below). This plan must be made available to all employees, customers and labor unions via website, internal network or hard copy. PLEASE REFER TO OUR 20-PAGE REOPENING GUIDE FOR YOUR PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE PLANNING. 

“We are happy to see the reopening process begin,” said MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis. “We hope the governor continues to look at regional data and begins opening more areas soon.”

Employers must also establish COVID-19 training for staff. At a minimum, employers must provide employees with homemade face masks and employees may ask patrons to remove their masks for identification purposes. All patrons must remain six feet apart from one another. WE WILL BE UPDATING MEMBERS WITH TRAINING MATERIALS OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

“We are concerned with the 50 percent occupancy limits because that model does not work for all businesses. Most businesses are fully prepared to reopen and protect their employees and customers,” Ellis said. “Businesses that adhere to strict social distancing, sanitation and offer PPE should not be limited by an arbitrary maximum occupancy.”

Despite the announcement from the governor, local governmental units will be able to place and enforce stricter guidelines as they see fit.

“We are hopeful that local municipalities will work with the businesses in their areas,” Ellis said. “Especially when it comes to expanding outdoor service areas without all the red tape.”

Governor Whitmer also announced a regional dashboard that will be made public soon. The dashboard will provide citizens with a breakdown of what’s allowed to be opened by region, as well as workplace safety requirements.

Return to Work Guidance


Executive Order 2020-92: allows for individuals in Regions 6 or 8, to go to a restaurant or a retail store or to attend a social gathering of up to 10 people.


  • Region 8: Entire Upper Peninsula
  • Region 6 Counties:  Alpena, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, and Wexford.

Executive Order 2020-91 – Guidelines for all open businesses:


Acting under the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and Michigan law, I order the following:

1. All businesses or operations that are permitted to require their employees to leave the homes or residences for work under Executive Order 2020-92, and any order that follows it, must, at a minimum:

a. Develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with recommendations in Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, developed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and available here. By June 1, 2020, or within two weeks of resuming in-person activities, whichever is later, a business’s or operation’s plan must be made readily available to employees, labor unions, and customers, whether via website, internal network, or by hard copy.

b. Designate one or more worksite supervisors to implement, monitor, and report on the COVID-19 control strategies developed under subsection (a). The supervisor must remain on-site at all times when employees are present on site. An on-site employee may be designated to perform the supervisory role.

c. Provide COVID-19 training to employees that covers, at a minimum:

  • Workplace infection-control practices.
  • The proper use of personal protective equipment.
  • Steps the employee must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • How to report unsafe working conditions.

d. Conduct a daily entry self-screening protocol for all employees or contractors entering the workplace, including, at a minimum, a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19.

e. Keep everyone on the worksite premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible, including through the use of ground markings, signs, and physical barriers, as appropriate to the worksite.

f. Provide non-medical grade face coverings to their employees, with supplies of N95 masks and surgical masks reserved, for now, for health care professionals, first responders (e.g., police officers, fire fighters, paramedics), and other critical workers.

g. Require face coverings to be worn when employees cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation from other individuals in the workplace, and consider face shields when employees cannot consistently maintain three feet of separation from other individuals in the workplace.

h. Increase facility cleaning and disinfection to limit exposure to COVID-19, especially on high-touch surfaces (e.g., door handles), paying special attention to parts, products, and shared equipment (e.g., tools, machinery, vehicles).

i. Adopt protocols to clean and disinfect the facility in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.

j. Make cleaning supplies available to employees upon entry and at the worksite and provide time for employees to wash hands frequently or to use hand sanitizer.

k. When an employee is identified with a confirmed case of COVID-19, within 24 hours, notify both:

  • The local public health department, and
  • Any co-workers, contractors, or suppliers who may have come into contact with the person with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

l. Follow Executive Order 2020-36, and any executive orders that follow it, that prohibit discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against employees who stay home or who leave work when they are at particular risk of infecting others with COVID-19.

m. Establish a response plan for dealing with a confirmed infection in the workplace, including protocols for sending employees home and for temporary closures of all or part of the worksite to allow for deep cleaning.

n. Restrict business-related travel for employees to essential travel only.

o Encourage employees to use personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer on public transportation.

p. Promote remote work to the fullest extent possible.

q. Adopt any additional infection-control measures that are reasonable in light of the work performed at the worksite and the rate of infection in the surrounding community.

Executive Order 2020-91: Guidelines specifically for bars/restaurants:


a. Limit capacity to 50% of normal seating.

b. Require six feet of separation between parties or groups at different tables or bar tops (e.g., spread tables out, use every other table, remove or put up chairs or barstools that are not in use).

c. Create communications material for customers (e.g., signs, pamphlets) to inform them of changes to restaurant or bar practices and to explain the precautions that are being taken to prevent infection.

d. Close waiting areas and ask customers to wait in cars for a call when their table is ready.

e. Close self-serve food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, and drink stations.

f. Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signage on walls to ensure that customers remain at least six feet apart in any lines.

g. Post sign(s) at store entrance(s) informing customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick.

h. Post sign(s) instructing customers to wear face coverings until they get to their table.

i. Require hosts and servers to wear face coverings in the dining area.

j. Require employees to wear face coverings and gloves in the kitchen area when handling food, consistent with guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).

k. Limit shared items for customers (e.g., condiments, menus) and clean high-contact areas after each customer (e.g., tables, chairs, menus, payment tools, condiments).

l.  Train employees on:

  • Appropriate use of personal protective equipment in conjunction with food safety guidelines.
  • Food safety health protocols (e.g., cleaning between customers, especially shared condiments).
  • How to manage symptomatic customers upon entry or in the restaurant.

m. Notify employees if the employer learns that an individual (including an employee, customer, or supplier) with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has visited the store.

n. Close restaurant immediately if an employee shows multiple symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, atypical shortness of breath, atypical cough) and perform a deep clean, consistent with guidance from FDA and the Center for Disease Control. Such cleaning may occur overnight.

o. Require a doctor’s written release to return to work if an employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

p. Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions at cash registers, bars, host stands, and other areas where maintaining physical distance of six feet is difficult.

q. To the maximum extent possible, limit the number of employees in shared spaces, including kitchens, break rooms, and offices, to maintain at least a six-foot distance between employees.

Other mandatory requirements:

9. Employers must maintain a record of the requirements set forth in Sections 1(c), (d), and (k).

10. The rules described in sections 1 through 9 have the force and effect of regulations adopted by the departments and agencies with responsibility for overseeing compliance with workplace health-and-safety standards and are fully enforceable by such agencies. Any challenge to penalties imposed by a department or agency for violating any of the rules described in sections 1 through 9 of this order will proceed through the same administrative review process as any challenge to a penalty imposed by the department or agency for a violation of its rules.

11. Any business or operation that violates the rules in sections 1 through 9 has failed to provide a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to an employee, within the meaning of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, MCL 408.1011.

12. Nothing in this order shall be taken to limit or affect any rights or remedies otherwise available under law.


Executive Order 2020-91 (COVID-19)

Executive Order 2020-92 (COVID-19)