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COVID-19 State Regulations in the Midwest

Emily Hartman /

[Updated 6/24/20]

Below is a round-up of COVID-19 state regulations for employers navigating how their business will get back to work. If you believe there may be a discrepancy between a state and local order that affects you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

We’ll keep this updated as much as we can, but double-check with the local governments to ensure you’ve got the latest information.

Illinois COVID-19 State Regulations

Reopening

Illinois begins to reopen with a 5-phased plan. Executive Order 2020-32 was issued to require safety and hygiene measures for essential and non-essential employers. For example, essential retail stores are required to provide employees with face coverings. The Order also required all residents who can safely wear a face covering to do so whenever in public.

On May 1, 2020, start parks began to reopen with social distancing and safety and hygiene requirements. On May 5, 2020, Restore Illinois, the phased reopening plan, was released.

Executive Order 2020-38 announced the Phase III reopening for the state and outlines the health requirements for individuals, businesses, retail stores, manufacturers, office buildings, restaurants and bars, gyms, personal service facilities, youth sports, and public amusement. Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

Update 6/26/20: Illinois is moving to Phase IV of reopening. Businesses like movie theaters, museums, zoos, fitness centers, and indoor dining services may reopen at 25% capacity, provided health and safety requirements are met. Gatherings of up to 50 people are acceptable.

Additional Resources

Phase IV Guidelines Overview

Phase III Business Toolkit

Restore Illinois Website

Restore Illinois A Public Approach to Safely Reopen Our State (Phase 3 and 4)

Executive Orders

Guidelines to Safely Reopen Additional Businesses and Industries (Phase IV Press Release)

Updated Statewide Model, Regional Metrics for Restore Illinois Health Regions (Press Release)

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: Illinois employers and employees

When: March 21, 2020 to April 7, 2020

What:

Governor J.B. Pritzker has issued an Executive Order for all Illinois residents to stay at home except for “essential activities.” These activities include:

  • Health and safety-related tasks, like seeing care from a health care professional or getting medications.
  • Caring for others, like a family member or pet, in another house.
  • Supplies and services like groceries, office supplies or other household goods.
  • Outdoor activities that are kept at physical distance from others like walking. Playgrounds, however, are closed.
  • Essential businesses and operations

Essential businesses and operations may remain open, and employees may travel to work. The list of essential businesses includes:

  • Health care facilities like hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, biotechnology companies, etc.;
  • Grocery stores or any store that sells food;
  • Restaurants may stay open for food delivery and carryout services only;
  • Transportation businesses like taxis, ride-sharing, and airlines as long as they’re used for an essential activity;
  • Banks and finance;
  • Professional services like law firms, real estate, insurance;
  • Childcare facilities;
  • Essential infrastructure like construction, public infrastructure, waste management, airports, utilities, public transportation, and telecommunication providers;
  • First responders;
  • Charitable and social services;
  • Media;
  • Residential facilities or group homes;
  • Food, beverage, and marijuana production;
  • Business supply stores to facilitate working from home or essential businesses; and
  • Other businesses like delivery services, gas stations, auto-repair business, laundromats, dry cleaners, hardware and supply stores, office supplies, home repair services, and funeral services.

Non-essential businesses must stop all activities except for “minimum basic operations.” Employees can still report to work for these minimum basic operations, but must maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet apart, wash hands with soap or use hand sanitizer frequently, cover coughs and sneezes into their elbows and not hands, refrain from shaking hands, and frequently clean high touch surfaces. These “minimum basic operations” include:

  • Maintaining inventory;
  • Ensuring security when processing payroll and other employee benefits;
  • Preserving the condition of the workplace and equipment; and
  • Performing activities that facilitate employees teleworking.

How:

  • Determine whether your business is considered essential. Assess your current workforce for who may be able to work remotely or is essential to be onsite.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Executive Order

State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Stay at Home FAQs

Indiana COVID-19 State Regulations

Back on Track Indiana

Update 6/15/20: Executive Order 20-32 was issued to allow all Indiana counties to move to Stage 4 on June 12, 2020 through July 3, 2020. Businesses may begin to reopen, provided they follow health and safety standards. Specific guidance for businesses can be found starting on page 4 of the Order and industry-specific guidance can be found starting on page 5.

Update 5/28/20: Executive Order 20-28 was issued to allow all Indiana counties to move to Stage 3.

Update: Indiana will move to Stage 3 on May 22, 2020 through at least June 13, 2020, with the exception of a few counties. A What’s Open, What’s Closed guidance was published.

May 1, 2020, stage 1 phase started, Indiana began a 5-phased Back on Track reopening plan, with Stage 2 beginning on May 4, 2020 through May 23, 2020. Stage 3 begins May 24, 2020 through June 13, 2020. Stage 4 begins June 14 through July 3, 2020. Stage 5 will begin on July 4, 2020. Details about the Stages, tentative timelines, what’s open versus closed, and restrictions can be found here.

Employers must have health and safety protocols in place by or before May 11, 2020 (see page 5 of Executive Order 2020-26).

Marion, Lake, and Cass Counties are following different timelines for reopening. Other local governments may also make more restrictive plans.

Industry-specific guidance for reopening can be found here.

Additional Resources

Back on Track Indiana

5 Stages to Get Indiana Back on Track: Indiana What’s Open, What’s Closed?

Executive Order 2020-26

Indiana Department of Health

Indiana Executive Orders

Face Coverings

During Stage 1, everyone is strongly encouraged to wear face masks when in public, including public transportation. requires employees must wear face coverings and considering requiring customers to do the same. Retail businesses should require employees to wear face coverings and consider requiring customers to do the same. All restaurants and personal care services, like hair and nail salons, should have employees and staff wear face coverings.

During Stage 2, the public is strongly encouraged to wear cloth face coverings on public transportation. All restaurant staff and employees must wear face coverings. Additionally, it is strongly recommended that everyone participating in real estate showings should wear a face covering.

See Executive Order 2020-26 for more information.

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: Indiana employers and employees

When: March 25, 2020 through at least April 7, 2020 (Updated: Extended to May 1, 2020, see the Executive Order)

What:

UpdateOn April 6, 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb issued a new Executive Order to extend the Stay-At-Home Order and to clarify and expand on affected businesses. The order adopts the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s CISA list and adds other clarifications about retail businesses and professional services. The changes can be viewed here.

Governor Eric Holcomb issued an order requiring all residents to stay at home except for essential activities that are necessary to maintain individuals’ health and safety, or activities that are part of business operations for essential business. The list of essential businesses is included in the Order.

Businesses, whether or not essential, must allow as many employees as possible to work from home. A non-essential business may still maintain certain minimal basic operations if social distancing requirements are met in order to:

  • Maintain the value of the business’s inventory and facilities, security, payroll and employee benefits.
  • Support employees’ ability to telework.

All employers are required to:

  • Have as many employees as possible work from home.
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home until they’re fever-free and experience improved symptoms for at least 72 hours without the aid of fever or symptom suppressing medication, and at least 7 days have passed since any symptoms first appeared.
  • Ensure all sick leave policies are up to date
  • Separate employees who appear to have respiratory illness symptoms and send them home
  • Emphasize to employees the need to stay home when sick, to exercise proper personal and workplace hygiene, etc.
  • Provide protective supplies like soap, water, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Frequently conduct environmental cleaning.

How:

  • Review the most recent executive order and how it may impact your business and employees.
  • Determine whether your business is considered essential. Assess your current workforce for who may be able to work remotely or is essential to be onsite.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Executive Order 20-18

Executive Order 20-08

Indiana Essential Businesses and Operations List

Indiana Stay-At-Home Order FAQs

Iowa COVID-19 State Regulations

Reopening

Update 6/15/20: Proclamation 6-10-20 was issued to reopen certain businesses beginning on June 12, 2020, to June 25, 2020, under health and safety requirements. Businesses like restaurants, bars, wedding venues, fitness centers, casinos, salons, barber shops, theaters, and more may begin to reopen. There are industry-specific requirements within the Proclamation. Gatherings of more than 10 people may be held as long as social distancing and health requirements are met.

Update 5/26/20: Proclamation 5-26-20 was issued until June 17, 2020 to reopen restaurants, bars, fitness centers, malls, and salons, among others, at 50% capacity.

Update: Under Proclamation 5-20-20, Between May 22, 2020 and May 27, 2020, businesses like theaters, pools, and museums may reopen under limited capacity and with safety requirements in place.

Starting on May 1, 2020, businesses like restaurants, fitness centers, and other retails stores can reopen in 77 counties and must follow safety restrictions until May 15, 2020.

Certain businesses, like theaters, clubs, and adult care facilities must remain closed through May 15, 2020.

Gatherings of more than 10 people continued to be banned through May 15, 2020.

Additional Resources

Proclamation 5-20-2020

COVID-19 in IOWA

NEW: Governor’s Disaster Proclamations

Retail Closures

Who: Iowa businesses and employees

When: March 26, 2020 through April 7, 2020

What: Governor Kim Reynolds has expanded the public health emergency to close additional non-essential businesses through April 7, 2020. The updated proclamation also prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people and bans elective medical procedures through April 30, 2020.

The list of non-essential retail businesses that must close can be found here, starting on page 5.

The proclamation also provides additional mandates and support to health care organizations, starting on page 6.

How:

  • Determine if your business is considered non-essential.
  • Based on the restriction of 10 or more people in a gathering, determine if you can send employees home to telework.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Public Health Proclamation

Iowa Department of Health

Iowa Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Communication Resources

Kansas COVID-19 State Regulations

Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas

Starting May 4, 2020, Kansas began Ad Astra, a 4-phased approach to reopening the state. During all phases, Kansans should continue to adhere to hygiene and social distancing protocols. An executive summary of the plan and overview of restrictions for each phase can be found here. The start of each phase will be accompanied by an Executive Order detailing new guidance and requirements. Update: A revised version of the Ad Astra plan was released as well as an At A Glance of each phase.

Update 6/1/20: County officials are to determine closures and restrictions on gatherings. The Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas and Ad Astra Plan At A Glance was updated. Kansas declared a disaster declaration.

Update 5/20/20: Governor Kelly announced via press release and Executive Order 20-34, that the state will move to Phase II of reopening on May 22, 2020. More information is expected. Changes to Phase II will include allowing gatherings of up to 15 people. Businesses like casinos, theaters, and bowling allies can begin to reopen starting May 22, 2020.

Industry-specific guidance for reopening can be found here.

Additional Resources

Ad Astra: Business Guidelines

Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas

Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas Guide

Ad Astra: Reopen Kansas Framework At A Glance

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Kansas Executive Orders

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: Kansas businesses and employees

When: March 30, 2020 until April 19, 2020 (Update: Extended to May 3, 2020)

What: Governor Laura Kelly issued an Executive Order to restrict the movement of state residents unless for an essential activity, as outlined starting on page 2 of the Order. The order also takes the place of any other local orders that may have been issued by counties or other local municipalities.

Businesses can have employees telework and travel to gather supplies to help them telework. The order provides guidance to businesses that may remain operational through performing an essential function as identified by the Kansas Essential Functions Framework (KEFF). Essential businesses are organized into 4 core functions Connect, Distribute, Manage and Supply. Businesses should review the KEFF information in the latest Executive Order, starting on page 3.

Of note, any business that is not certain whether it is considered essential under the KEFF criteria can contact KEFF@ks.gov.

How:

  • Determine if your business is considered essential or non-essential.
  • Assess whether you can send employees home to telework.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Executive Order EO20-16

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Kansas COVID-10 Resource Center

Kansas Executive Orders

Michigan COVID-19 State Regulations

Michigan Safe Start Reopening Plan

Beginning May 7, 2020, in-person work for certain businesses may begin to resume under the state’s current shelter-in-place order (which ends May 15, 2020). The types of workers who may go back to work are organized into 4 categories, like realty, outdoor, and construction workers, as long as they adhere to social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene requirements. The full list of categories and requirements can be found starting on page 2 of Executive Order 2020-70.

Update 6/19/20: Executive Order 2020-125 clarifies the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act for workers that contract COVID-19, particularly for first responders.

Update 6/17/20: Executive Order 2020-127 was issued to extend Michigan’s state of emergency to July 16, 2020.

Update 6/5/20: Executive Order 2020-115 was issued to begin easing certain restrictions in the upcoming weeks for certain regions of the state. Beginning June 10, 2020, businesses and residents in Regions 6 and 8 will no longer be held to Executive Order 2020-110. Beginning June 15, 2020, non-essential personal care services may begin to reopen. Be sure to read through the Executive Order for further details about health and safety requirements and language about social gatherings, entertainment facilities, and more.

Update 6/4/20: Executive Order 2020-110 was issued to restrict certain gatherings, events, and businesses. Indoor gatherings of 10 people or more or prohibited. Outdoor gatherings may occur as long as there are 100 people or less and social distance is maintained. Outdoor parks and recreational facilities may reopen. Day camps may reopen at 50% capacity on June 8, 2020, for children. Stores that were closed may reopen starting June 4, 2020. Movie theaters, indoor gyms, personal care services, casinos and other entertainment or amusement businesses should remain closed. There are further details for outdoor fitness and religious services in the Executive Order.

Update 6/1/20: Executive Order 2020-100 amends and clarifies the duration of previous orders. Governor Whitmer moved the state to Stage 4 of the Safe Start Plan, allowing many businesses to reopen under health and safety requirements.

Update: Executive Order 2020-70 has been replaced by Executive Order 2020-77; information for businesses can be found starting on page 3; automotive businesses may begin to reopen on May 11, 2020, as long as safety requirements are met. It also extends the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order to May 28, 2020. The order also outlines the use of face masks and industry-specific information, starting on page 15. All businesses must provide employees who perform in-person work with, at a minimum, non-medical grade face coverings.

Update 5/19/20: The Michigan Safe Start Plan was released.

Additional protections have been extended to pharmacy and grocery workers through Executive Order 2020-71.

Face coverings: Customers to these businesses must wear a face covering. Under Executive Order 2020-70, employers conducting in-person business, or where people cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance, must provide PPE including face shields, face masks, or gloves. Non-medical, cloth face masks are acceptable.

Additional Resources

Press Release: Governor Whitmer Extends Stay Home, Stay Safe Order, Reopens Manufacturing as Part of her MI Safe Start Plan (May 7, 2020)

Michigan Safe Start Plan

Michigan Stay Safe Save Lives Presentation

Michigan.gov Coronavirus

Michigan Executive Orders

Executive Order 2020-70

Executive Order 2020-70 FAQs

Executive Order 2020-71

Executive Order 2020-77

Shelter-In-Place Order

Who: Michigan employers and employees

When: March 24, 2020 through April 13, 2020 (Update: This date has been extended to May 28, 2020, per Executive Order 2020-77 )

What:

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order that bans businesses from asking workers to leave their homes unless it is necessary to sustain or protect life, or to maintain the minimum of basic operations.  Minimum basic operations include maintaining the value of inventory and equipment, caring for animals, ensuring security, processing transactions (including payroll and employee benefits), or facilitating the ability of other workers to work remotely.

Employers must identify the minimum number of workers that meet the criteria for being essential, and must make such designations in writing, whether by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means by March 21, 2020. When onsite, employees must practice social distances of at least 6 feet and personal and workplace hygiene. Businesses must also restrict the number of people on the premises and must promote teleworking whenever possible.

All public and private gatherings of people have been banned for anyone who are not part of a single household.

How:

Assess your current workforce for who may be able to work remotely or is essential to be onsite.

When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.

Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Executive Order 2020-21 (COVID-19)

Executive Order 2020-11

Michigan.gov Coronavirus

Michigan Coronavirus Resources

Retaliation Protections Expand

Who: Michigan businesses and employees

When: Effective immediately and continues until the end of the state’s state of emergency

What: Governor Gretchen Whitmer published an Executive Order barring employers from disciplining or terminating employees who are staying home because they are displaying COVID-19 symptoms, have a COVID-19 positive test, or have come into contact with someone who has tested positive or displayed symptoms. These individuals should be treated as if they were taking leave under the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act.

The order encourages people who display COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for the disease to stay home. These individuals should stay home for 3 days after their symptoms have disappeared and 7 days after their symptoms first appeared. Anyone who has come into close contact with another person that has COVID-19 or displays symptoms should stay home either for 14 days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.

Please see the Executive Order for further information on the symptoms.

If employees do not have paid leave, they may take unpaid leave. The length of leave is not limited by the amount of leave accrued by an employee and should extend, regardless of whether its paid or unpaid, for the duration the employee is away from work for health scenarios described above.

Employers cannot take adverse action against an employee if the employee doesn’t provide documentation of any close contact with another person displaying symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19. They may take adverse action if the employee is allowed to return to work but refuses, if the employee gives consent, or other lawful reasons.

How:

  • Guide and help your employees as they request sick leave and educate them about their leave options as necessary
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.
  • If you are considering any adverse actions regarding an individual’s employment, be sure to seek legal counsel, to review and provide additional guidance.

Additional Resources

Executive Order 2020-36

Michigan.gov Coronavirus

Michigan Coronavirus Resources

Minnesota COVID-19 State Regulations

Stay Safe Plan

Update 6/19/20: Executive Order 20-75 was issued to extend the state of emergency to July 13, 2020.

Update 6/4/20: Executive Order 20-70 was issued regarding outdoor dining permits for bars and restaurants to conduct outdoor food and beverage services and “trunk highway right of way.” Phase II begins on June 1, 2020, per Emergency Executive Order 20-63, allowing restaurants, bars, personal care services, and campgrounds to reopen as long as health and safety requirements are met.

Update 5/21/20: Minnesota released a Stay Safe Plan website. Guidance on Safely Reopening Minnesota Businesses was also launched

Update: Executive Order 20-56 was issued to begin allowing malls, retail stores, businesses that offer goods, construction, and manufacturing to open starting May 18, 2020, with the appropriate safety measures in place

Starting April 27, 2020, under Emergency Executive Order 20-40, non-critical businesses can begin to resume operations as long as the business has a COVID-19 preparedness plan that follows CDC and Minnesota OSHA guidance. The Executive Order details which businesses are affected and the requirements they must meet, starting on page 3. There is an optional COVID-19 Preparedness Plan template available.

Minnesota OSHA has industry-specific fact sheets to assist employers with their plans.

Additional Resources

New: Minnesota Stay Safe Plan Website

New: Guidance on Safely Reopening Minnesota Businesses

Minnesota OSHA

Minnesota Safely Returning to Work

Minnesota Department of Health

Emergency Executive Order 20-40

Minnesota Executive Orders

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: Minnesota employers and employees

When: March 27, 2020 through April 10, 2020 (updated to May 18, 2020 under Executive Order 20-48)

What:

Governor Tim Walz signed an Executive Order for all Minnesotans to stay at home unless for an essential activity or for “critical sector” work. People who violate this order could be fined up to $1,000 or placed in prison for up to 90 days.

Essential activities include health and safety activities, outdoor activities (so long as six feet of social distancing are observed), obtaining necessary supplies and services (i.e., groceries, gas, essential household products, etc.); essential travel, caring for others, displacement or relocation, and tribal activities on tribal lands.

The “critical sector” exemption only applies to work that can’t be done from employees’ house or through telework. Critical sectors include those categories found in the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Memorandum as well as the following:

  • Health care and public health;
  • Emergency services like law enforcement and first responders;
  • Childcare facilities;
  • Legal services and the Judicial Branch;
  • Transportation and logistics, including auto sales that are necessary to allow for essential travel only if conducted by appointment;
  • Public works like energy, water, road maintenance;
  • Communications and information technology;
  • Lodging;
  • Education;
  • Construction and critical trades like plumbers, electricians, HVAC, etc.;
  • Financial institutions;
  • Food and agriculture;
  • Religious institutions;
  • Laundry services;
  • Real estate transactions;
  • Critical labor unions; and
  • Critical manufacturing.

How:

Assess your business is considered essential and if you need to send employees home to telework.

When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.

Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Executive Order 20-33

Minnesota Executive Order 20-20 with CISA Memorandum

Minnesota Stay At Home Frequently Asked Questions

Minnesota Department of Health

Employment Law Changes Considering COVID-19

Who: Minnesota employers and employees

When: Effective Immediately

What:

Local and state governments have provided additional guidance when it comes to employment law. Below you will find some of the additional guidance in light of COVID-19:

Minneapolis Clarifies Sick and Safe Time Ordinance with an FAQ

Employees may use accrued sick and safe leave for absences related to testing, care or quarantine from COVID-19 symptoms or infection, quarantine due to close contact with another person who is symptomatic or tested positive, caring for family members whose school or child care was closed due to COVID-19, and workplaces that have closed by decree of a public official. Sick and Safe Time leave can only be used for scheduled shifts or shifts when an employee was expected to have worked if the business hadn’t been closed by a public official.

Sick and Safe Time leave can’t be used if an employer closes for any reason other than from the directive of a public official or an employee preemptively self-quarantines without reason to believe they’ve contracted the illness.

Duluth Clarifies Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance with an FAQ

Employees may use Sick and Safe Time leave for their own medical diagnosis, care, treatment, preventive care, or to care for a family member going through the above medical process.

Employers shouldn’t prevent employees from working because of travel.

Statewide Unemployment Compensation Expansion

Governor Tim Walz has softened the compliance rules for state unemployment and expands eligibility to people who:

Temporarily or permanently lost their job or had their hours reduced.  This includes losing their jobs because they contracted COVID-19 or due to an employer’s actions because of COVID-19; experiencing a substantial reduction in hours (i.e. to less than 32 hours/week); or being furloughed.

Have been told by a health care professional to quarantine because of COVID-19.

Have been told by their employer to not come to work because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Have to care for their child because the child’s school, daycare, or other care provider has canceled provided that they attempted to make other reasonable accommodations and requested time off or other accommodations from their employer.

Applicants don’t have to wait a week in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits. They don’t have to search for work that poses a risk to their health or others. Employees who are temporarily out of work don’t need to look for work but must keep in touch with their employer during that time.

Employers may use the payment of paid time off, transition assistance, and bonuses as ways to delay or off-set unemployment benefits.

This is effective now through December 31, 2020.

Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Act Sends Reminder Bulletin to Employers

As a reminder, employers can’t retaliate against employees who report health and safety issues at work, including if an employee believes another coworker may be symptomatic or if there is a workplace practice the employee believes increases exposure.

If an employer needs to take disciplinary action against, or needs to reduce hours of, an employee that is unrelated to such a complaint, that must be made clear to the employee so as not to seem like the employer is retaliating.

Employers also can’t retaliate against employees who have contracted, or have been exposed to, COVID-19 and need to self-isolate at home, or employees who have to care for a family member who has contracted, or been exposed to, COVID-19.

Workers’ Compensation Related to COVID-19

Because showing that a worker contracted COVID-19 in the workplace can have a major impact on workers’ compensation laws, the Minnesota Department of Labor has laid out guidance about COVID-19-related workers’ compensation:

Health care professionals and emergency first responders don’t need to prove they contracted COVID-19 at work. It is assumed that these individuals are entitled to workers’ compensation.

Other employees will need to prove that they contracted the virus while at work.

Workers who haven’t contracted the virus but for other reasons are under quarantine aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA)

Employers must remain compliant with enforcing the Equal Employment Opportunity policies in this current environment. Employers should only make exclusionary decisions based on objective evidence of illness, exposure, or recent travel to high-risk areas.  Employers must ensure that COVID-19 policies don’t violate anti-discrimination laws.

As a temporary illness, COVID-19 likely doesn’t initially qualify as a disability under the MHRA or American Disabilities Act (ADA). But if an individual is affected by COVID-19 to the point of disability, it may fall within the MHRA’s and/or ADA’s definition.

How:

As you make decisions about your business and your employees, be sure to consult with legal counsel for the latest information and to ensure your decisions are compliant with the latest regulations.

Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Minnesota Executive Order No. 2020-11

Emergency Executive Order 20-05

Worker Protections Related to COVID-19

COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits

Missouri COVID-19 State Regulations

Reopening: Missouri Show Me Strong Recovery

Phase I of the Missouri Show Me Strong Recovery reopening plan will begin on May 4, 2020. Governor Mike Parson issued an Executive Order that will allow businesses to reopen as long as they adhere to social distancing, good hygiene, and sanitation requirements.

Businesses are encouraged to take steps like developing infectious disease preparedness and response plans, modifying or closing workspaces to limit gatherings and maintain physical distances, and staggering the return of onsite employees. Further guidance can be found in the Missouri Show Me Strong Recovery Plan and the Business section of the plan.

Additional Resources

New: Missouri Face Covering Guidance

Show Me Strong Recovery Plan: Phase I Guidelines and FAQs

Missouri Show Me Strong Recovery Plan

Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services

Missouri Face Covering Guidance

Missouri Statewide Orders

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: Missouri businesses and employees

When: April 6, 2020 to April 24, 2020 (Update: Extended now to May 3, 2020, please see the Extension of the Stay At Home Order)

What:

Update: While announcing the extension of the stay at home order through May 3, 2020, Governor Mike Parson outlined the state’s action plan for reopening/recovery, “Show Me Strong Recovery.” The plan includes 4 main points for testing, personal protective equipment, monitoring, and public health data. Read more in the Governor’s press release.

Governor Mike Parson issued an Executive Order mandating state residents to stay home unless for essential activities like grocery shopping or medical care, or for essential work functions. The Executive Order provides additional guidance on essential activities. Social gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited, and all state residents should practice social distancing.

The Order also provides information on what constitutes an essential work function, aligning with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency list. The state’s Department of Economic Development provided a chart to clarify federal guidance. Essential retail businesses must follow additional guidance about occupancy based on the location’s size:

  • Less than 10,000 square feet, limit occupancy to 25% or less of the location’s fire or building code.
  • 10,000 square feet or more, limit occupancy to 10% or less of the location’s fire or building code.

Essential businesses that remain open must follow personal and workplace hygiene, and where possible, must have employees telework from home. Businesses that don’t employ essential employees may request a waiver from the social gathering limit from the Department of Economic Development.

How:

  • Determine if your business is considered essential or non-essential.
  • Assess whether you can send employees home to telework.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Department of Health and Senior Services Directive Order

“Stay Home Missouri” Order – Guidance and FAQs

Stay At Home Order: Business Guidance

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

Department of Economic Development Waiver

Nebraska COVID-19 State Regulations

Reopening

Starting on May 4, 2020, Nebraska will begin to reopen some businesses, like salons and restaurants, if they adhere to social distancing and safety requirements. There are specific requirements in the Directed Health Measure 2020-011 for affected industries that businesses will want to review. Restaurants will need to keep dine-in services at 50% capacity while maintaining social distance, and employees should wear cloth face coverings. Salons and personal care services may operate at a max of 10 people in the stores, and those individuals must wear masks.

Update 6/23/20:

Update 6/15/20: All counties except for Dakota, Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick will enter Phase III of reopening starting June 22, 2020. Those 4 counties will enter Phase II of reopening on June 22, 2020. Among the changes in Phase III will be more bars and restaurants operating at 100% capacity, with parties of 8 being acceptable. Child care facilities will increase their limits based on age and indoor gatherings will be limited to 50% capacity while outdoor gatherings will be limited to 75% capacity. More information and an outline of changes for these counties can be found here as well as an outline of Phase IV plans. Industry-specific guidance can be found here. It is recommended that state residents wear a cloth face covering out in public and certain business industries require a face covering.

Additional Resources

Directed Health Measure 2020-011

COVID-19 Nebraska Guidance Documents

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Nebraska Understanding the State’s Directed Health Measures

North Dakota

Reopening

Starting May 1, 2020 under the North Dakota Smart Restart, businesses may begin to reopen as long as they can adhere to the state’s safety protocols. There are several conditions to reopening, including completing a COVID-19 workplace assessment, providing contactless forms of payment, limiting occupancy, and adhering to CDC guidelines. The rest of the conditions can be found here, which also includes hygiene and PPE specifications. There is industry-specific information for businesses like restaurants and personal care services that require close contact with customers.

Executive Order 2020-06.4 mandates that personal care businesses like hair and nail salons, piercing and tattoo parlors, massage therapy, in addition to theaters may not open before May 1, 2020 at 8 a.m. Fitness centers and restaurants may reopen after May 1, 2020 at 8 a.m. but must adhere to all industry standards and industry-specific standards. Update: Executive Order 2020-06.6 was issued allowing the above businesses to reopen, as long as they meet safety requirements. Additionally, the North Dakota Smart Restart plan was released.

Additional Resources

Executive Order 2020-06.4

Standards for All Industries

North Dakota Smart Restart Protocols

8 Conditions to Smart Restart

North Dakota Smart Restart Employer/Employee

North Dakota Department of Health

North Dakota Executive Orders

Ohio COVID-19 State Regulations

Reopening

Update 6/10/20: The Director of the Ohio Department of Health ordered the reopening of youth day and residential camps beginning June 10, 2020. Additionally, on June 10, 2020, Governor DeWine announced the opening of entertainment facilities like museums, indoor sports, movie theaters, playgrounds, and more to reopen under health and safety requirements.

Update 6/1/20: The Director of Public Health updated Business Guidance and Social Distancing. Reopened businesses should continue to comply with social distancing requirements, allow customers and visitors to wear facial coverings, require employees to wear facial coverings (with certain exceptions). The list of businesses that should remain closed can be found starting on page 4 of the Order. There is information and a checklist for businesses starting on page 5 and industry-specific information starting on page 6 with manufacturing and construction.

Governor Mike DeWine released the Restart Ohio Plan as the state’s coordinated effort to reopen and Amy Acton, MD, MPH, the Director of the Ohio Department of Health issued the Stay Safe Ohio Order that outlines additional guidance for the Restart Ohio Plan.

Starting Friday May 1, 2020, additional health care operations, dental, and vet offices can reopen.

Starting on May 4, 2020, manufacturing, distribution, construction businesses can begin to open; a fact sheet details mandatory and best practices for maintaining to minimize COVID-19 risk. Business offices may also reopen starting May 4, 2020; a fact sheet details safety mandates and best practices. The Ohio Department of Health also issued industry-specific recommendations that businesses will need to review.

On May 12, 2020, consumer and retail stores may begin reopening as long as they adhere to health and safety requirements.

Update: The state released Cloth Masks and Face Coverings FAQ to clarify questions about cloth masks and face coverings. Employers and employees in industries like construction, manufacturing, and retail are required to wear face masks as they reopen. It is recommended that state residents wear masks in public.

Additional Resources

New: Cloth Masks/Face Coverings in the Workplace

New: COVID-19 Update: New Responsible RestartOhio Opening Dates (May 14, 2020)

New: COVID-19 Update: Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory (May 19, 2020)

New: Director’s Updated and Revised Order for Business Guidance and Social Distancing (May 29, 2020)

Director’s Stay Safe Ohio Order

Sector Specific Operating Requirements

Ohio Responsible Restart

Ohio Responsible Protocols to Return to Work

Ohio Public Health Orders

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: Ohio employers and employees

When: March 23, 2020 through May 1, 2020 (please see the updated Stay At Home Order)

What: The Ohio Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, issued a Stay-At-Home order for all state residents. With the exception of essential businesses, all employers in the state are instructed to stop all onsite operations that aren’t considered a “Minimum Basic Operation.” Non-essential business employees may still work from home.

“Minimum Basic Operations” are defined as activities that maintain the business’s inventory, preserve the business’s physical space and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and benefits, or help ensure that employees can work remotely.

All travel is restricted unless it’s considered an essential activity for business or personal reasons.

Essential businesses that may remain open include:

  • Health care, public health, human services, essential government and essential infrastructure;
  • Businesses that are named under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Memorandum;
  • Any store that sells groceries (food and household products) and medicine (prescription and over the counter);
  • Food, beverage, and licensed marijuana production and agriculture. This does include farms, livestock, fishing, baking, and those businesses that provide food and supplies for animals;
  • Charitable and social services;
  • Religious entities;
  • Media and first amendment protected speech;
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, including automotive supply, automotive repair, farm equipment, construction equipment, boat repair, bicycle shops and repair;
  • Financial institutions;
  • Hardware and supply stores;
  • Critical trades like building and construction;
  • Mail and delivery services, logistics, shipping;
  • Educational institutions;
  • Laundry services and laundromats;
  • Restaurants for carry out and delivery services;
  • Supply stores that support telework;
  • Supply stores that support essential businesses and operations;
  • Transportation like airlines, taxis, vehicle rental services, paratransit, marinas, docks, and boat storage;
  • Home-based care and services;
  • Residential facilities and shelters;
  • Professional services like law firms, accounting, insurance, real estate (including appraisal and title services);
  • Manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries;
  • Critical labor union function;
  • Hotels and motels; and
  • Funeral services.

Businesses that remain open must comply with social distancing rules, including:

  • Keeping at least a 6-foot distance for individuals by having signage, tape, or other means;
  • Keeping hand sanitizer and sanitizing products available to customers and employees;
  • Enforcing separate hours for at-risk and elderly populations; and
  • Posting online whether facilities are open, and how to reach facilities by phone or remotely.

Businesses that remain open must also abide by the following rules:

  • Permit as many employees to telework and implement policies that support teleworking.
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home until they’re fever-free for at least 3 days without the use of medication, their symptoms have improved over the last 3 days, and it has been at least 7 days since the symptoms first appeared. A health care provider doesn’t have to provide a note about illness or returning to work.
  • Keep sick leave policies updated, flexible, and non-disciplinary, so that employees can stay home to take care of themselves, children, or other family members.
  • Separate employees who show symptoms of acute respiratory illness and send them home immediately.
  • Encourage employees to practice good workplace and personal hygiene and to stay home when they feel sick.
  • Enhance and increase the frequency of environmental cleaning of common workspaces.
  • Remain nimble to changing business practices.

How:

Assess your business is considered essential and if you need to send employees home to telework.

When you’ve developed a plan to respond to new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.

Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Ohio Director of Department of Public Health Updated Order

Ohio Director of Department of Public Health Order

Stay-At-Home Order Frequently Asked Questions

Ohio Department of Health

CISA Memorandum

Employee Temperature Guidelines

Who: Ohio employers and employees

When: March 18, 2020

What: Governor Mike DeWine has asked all Ohio employers that remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak take their workers’ temperatures every day before work begins. If employees show a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher (or 99.6 and higher for elderly workers), they should be sent home.

This is not a regular practice or recommendation, as it could violate the American Disabilities Act (medical exams by employers are prohibited unless job-related and consistent), but during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance allowing the practice with employees and job applicants.

If employers use this practice, they and their employees should maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet apart while waiting to take their temperatures. A knowledgeable person, like a company nurse or trained HR professional, should be in attendance to correctly read and disinfect the thermometers. This person must take precautions to limit their potential exposure to any hazards, including but not limited to COVID-19. Precautions should include personal protective equipment (PPE) as outlined by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Other considerations employers need to take into account:

Temperature readings should be kept private and treated as confidential information.

Non-exempt employees should be compensated for the time they wait in line to have their temperatures taken.

Employees may refuse to have their temperature taken.

Employees with an elevated temperature that are sent home are eligible for unemployment benefits. Depending on the size of the employer, the employee may also be eligible for paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Employers are also reminded that some employees with COVID-19 won’t have an elevated temperature and should keep an eye out for other symptoms of the virus.

How:

Determine if your business would benefit from this new recommendation.

Build a strategy for how to implement these changes to your workforce. Consider everything from the logistics of thermometers, handling confidential information, and waiting in line with compensation, hazards, PPE, and how to send employees home.

Consult with legal counsel before implementing a temperature-taking program to ensure it complies with all federal and state laws.

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

EEOC: What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19

Unemployment Benefits and Workers Compensation

Who: Ohio employers and employees

When: March 16, 2020

What:

Unemployment Benefits Expansion

Update 6/24/20: Under Executive Order 2020-24D, Governor DeWine expanded the term “good cause” regarding employees refusing to return to work. The term includes scenarios where an employee has a medical professional’s recommendation they not return to work because they are a “high risk” for contracting COVID-19, the employee is age 65 or older, there is clear evidence the employee isn’t allowed to practice social distancing, hygiene, or wear PPE, the person is currently in a medically recommended self-quarantine period, or the person must care for a family member who is in a medically recommended quarantine period.

Governor Mike DeWine issued an Executive Order to expand the unemployment system during Ohio’s state of emergency:

  • Unemployed workers will include individuals who have been isolated or quarantined by a health care professional, health authority or employer, as a result of COVID-19 exposure or diagnosis (even if the worker isn’t diagnosed with COVID-19).
  • Whether partially or totally unemployed, participants in the SharedWork Ohio Program won’t be required to follow the waiting period before receiving unemployment or SharedWork benefits.
  • Benefits paid on unemployment claims related won’t be charged to the employer’s account but to the mutualized account, except reimbursing employers.
  • Work search requirements are waived for employees that have been isolated or quarantined by a health care professional, health authority, or employer.
  • Penalties and payments for late reporting are waived for employers affected by COVID-19.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has developed a mass layoff instruction sheet for employers to give to employees to help navigate their layoff as it relates to COVID-19.

Workers’ Compensation

The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation issued a Frequently Asked Questions document about workers’ compensation as it relates to COVID-19. Although employees can file a COVID-19-related claim, they have to meet 3 criteria:

  • The virus was contracted while they were working.
  • The virus was directly related to the person’s employment. The way the disease manifested, or the conditions of the person’s employment, resulted in the exposure to COVID-19.
  • Their job created the risk of contracting the disease in a higher degree than in the general public.

How:

  • Consult with your legal counsel as you make decisions regarding employment.
  • As you make employment changes, provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.
  • If you need to lay off employees, be sure to provide your employees with the instruction sheet from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Additional Resources

Executive Order 2020-03D

Mass Layoff Instruction Sheet

Ohio Workers’ Compensation FAQ

Wisconsin COVID-19 State Regulations

Reopening

Update 5/20/20: The Wisconsin Supreme Court declared that Governor Tony Evers’ reopening plan and executive orders were unenforceable. Businesses should review the Relief and Recovery Resources for Your Business for industry-specific guidance from the Economic Development Commission.

Governor Tony Evers announced a 3-phased approach to reopening the state, titled the Badger Bounce Back Plan. The phases for each plan can be found starting on page 2 of the Executive Order. Phase 1 includes allowing gatherings of up to 10 people and easing restrictions on restaurants and some operations for non-essential businesses.

Starting April 29, 2020, businesses may conduct curbside drop off, car washes, and outdoor recreational rentals may resume, as long as employers adhere to distancing, hygiene and sanitation requirements. See Emergency Order #34 for further details. This order coincides with the extended Safer At Home and Badger Bounce Back Plan.

Update: Executive Order #36 was issued to allow retail businesses and drive-in theaters to reopen at limited occupancy and with safety requirements. Face coverings are strongly encouraged for employees and customers to retail businesses. Reopening Guidelines were posted for businesses.

Additional Resources

Executive Order #36

Emergency Order #31

Emergency Order #34

Badger Bounce Back Plan for Workers and Businesses

From Safer At Home to Badger Bounce Back Plan

Badger Bounce Back Plan Brief

Safer At Home FAQs

Wisconsin Department of Health

Safer-At-Home Order

Who: Wisconsin employers, employees, and residents

When: March 25, 2020 through April 24, 2020 (Update: Extended through May 26, 2020, please see Executive Order #28)

What:

Update: Under Executive Order #28, restrictions on essential and non-essential businesses start to lessen for certain industries as long as they follow safe business practices (page 4); details are included in the Order and should be closely reviewed. Non-essential businesses will be able to conduct Minimum Basic Operations, a definition can be found on page 18 of the Order.

Governor Tony Evers and Andrea Palm, Secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, issued an Emergency Order for residents to stay in their places of residences except for essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses and operations, essential travel, and special situations. All gatherings public and private are prohibited except for members of the same household. Salons, spas, and places of public amusement and activity are closed.

Essential activities are subject to social distancing requirements and are those related to:

  • Health and safety;
  • Obtaining necessary supplies and services;
  • Outdoor activity;
  • Work at essential business or operations, including minimum basic operations; and
  • Taking care of others.

The Order calls for the cessation of operations of non-essential businesses and operations. Exceptions are schools and libraries, which may provide online services, and to maintain minimum basic operations and operations where all employees are working from home. All businesses are required to use remote work technology whenever possible.

Essential businesses and operations may stay open, subject to social distancing rules. They include:

  • Healthcare and public health operations;
  • Human services operations;
  • Essential infrastructure;
  • Essential government functions;
  • Any business or worker identified in the Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response;
  • Stores that sell groceries or medicine;
  • Food and beverage production, transport, and agriculture;
  • Restaurants and bars providing take-out or delivery service;
  • Childcare facilities;
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services;
  • Weddings, funerals, and religious entities;
  • Media;
  • Gas stations and transportation businesses;
  • Financial institutions and services;
  • Hardware and supplies stores;
  • Critical trades;
  • Mail, shipping, logistics, and delivery services;
  • Laundry services;
  • Supplies to work from home and for essential businesses and governmental functions;
  • Home-based care and services;
  • Professional services, such as legal and accounting;
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries;
  • Critical labor union functions;
  • Hotels and motels; and
  • Higher educational institutions, to provide distance learning.

If you believe your business should be designated as essential, you may contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to request a designation.

How:

  • Determine if your business is defined as essential. Request a determination as necessary.
  • Essential businesses must develop a strategy for adhering to the requirements for social distancing.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Wisconsin Executive Orders

Emergency Order #12

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Coronavirus Facts

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Safer at Home FAQ

Request Essential Business Designation

List of Essential Businesses

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