State loosens workplace rules as COVID fades

As offices reopen, mask enforcement falls to employers.

At home workers can finally return to the office – whether they want to or not – under newly loosened COVID-19 rules announced by the governor.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday unveiled the workplace rule changes, which also affect everything from restaurants to retail establishments.

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Most notably, rules requiring employees to work from home whenever “feasible” were rescinded. In conjunction with that, the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration (MIOSHA) dropped rules requiring workers who have been vaccinated to wear masks in the workplace.

Some industry-specific rules were lifted as well. Those mean restaurants can reopen pool tables and dance floors – places where crowds congregate. Stores no longer have to employ plexiglass separators at checkout lanes.

The changes make the business community happy.

“The revised MIOSHA rules are significantly streamlined and live up to the spirit of what we were told to expect last week,” said Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan, in a statement. “This is a significant positive step forward.”

At the same time, it puts businesses in the awkward position of enforcing mask mandates on their unvaccinated employees.

Under MIOSHA guidelines, employers have four options for dealing with this new requirement:

  • Keep records of vaccinated employees
  • Post signs in workspaces reminding workers of COVID rules
  • Require unvaccinated workers to continue to work from home
  • Simply require all workers to wear masks regardless of vaccination status

You can read more on Bridge Michigan.

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