Information and resources for business owners on COVID-19

*This post will be continuously updated as more information becomes available – please check back for more updates and information*
Last updated 4/7/20 at 3:00 pm

On March 10, Gov. Whitmer declared a state of emergency via Executive Order 2020-4 in Michigan when two cases of Coronavirus were confirmed in Michigan residents. As of 3:00 p.m. April 7, there were 18,970 confirmed, positive cases in Michigan and 845 related deaths (see daily updates here). Michigan has the third highest number of cases in the United States.

What’s new:

Please note, state and federal guidance is evolving, so the information may change. New items are noted with bold, red type with the date they were added. You can also see a running list of updates by date in this section.



  • Loans, loan guarantees and investments under the CARES Act:
    • Under the CARES Act signed into law on March 27, the U.S. Treasury Secretary is permitted to make loans, loan guarantees and investments in an amount not to exceed $500 billion.
    • The Paycheck Protection Program is intended to promote the retention of employees by providing funds for short term expenses.
      • Available to businesses with fewer than 500 employees and in an amount not to exceed 250% of average monthly payroll.
      • Loans are eligible for forgiveness to the extent the money is used for payroll, rent, utilities and mortgage interest obligations. Loan repayments can also be deferred for a period of time.
      • The eligible loan period is retroactive to February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020.
    • There are certain prohibitions when taking advantage of these loans. These include prohibitions on stock buybacks and dividends, unless there is already an existing agreement or contract in place, and limits on executive compensation during the term of the loan plus a period of time thereafter.
    • The loans will be guaranteed by the Small Business Administration and will likely be issued by most FDIC insured banks. Retailers wishing to take advantage of these loans should be in contact with an appropriate lending institution to inquire about the application process.
    • For more information view our full post on the Federal CARES Act Includes Key Provisions for Retailers.
  • Business tax relief under the CARES Act:
    • Employers may now defer 50% of 2020 employer payroll taxes until December 31, 2021, with the remaining 50% due December 31, 2022.
    • 50% refundable payroll tax credit for employers who had their business fully or partially suspended.
    • Net operating losses from 2018, 2019 and 2020 can be carried back to the previous five years to offset taxable income. This will generate an immediate rebate on taxes already paid.
    • Businesses will now be able to deduct 50% of interest expenses from 2019 and 2020 (up from the current 30%).
    • Remodeling projects done by retailers and restaurants in 2018 and 2019 can be depreciated more quickly on an amended tax return. Those overpayments will be refunded because the CARES Act corrected a previous tax reform glitch that impacted the depreciation period for improvements.
    • For more information view our full post on the Federal CARES Act Includes Key Provisions for Retailers.
  • Employee screening/social distancing requirements


  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA
  • Unemployment
    • Additional federal unemployment benefits:
      • Additional federal benefits will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2020 to help workers impacted by COVID-19.
        • Benefit payments are extended from 26 weeks to 39 weeks.
        • Supplements standard payments by $600.00 per week.
        • It also provides payments to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits, including self-employed individuals, who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.
    • Under an updated Executive Order on unemployment benefits (Executive Order 2020-24 that replaces E.O. 2020-10):
      • Businesses won’t be charged if an employee becomes unemployed or is placed on temporary leave. It will instead be charged to the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s non-chargeable account. (added 3/29/20)
      • Effective March 25, 2020 at 11:59 pm, the benefits conferred on employers by this section are not available to employers determined to have misclassified workers.
      • E.O. 2020-24 is in effect through April 22.
  • Work Share program
    • Specific guidance from the State of Michigan related to utilizing the Work Share program related to COVID-19 is available here.
  • Temporary leave unemployment form
    • A notice employers should provide to employees related to temporary layoffs that will be needed to file for unemployment benefits is available here.
  • Employee screening/social distancing requirements
    • Several county health departments have adopted orders that require employers to pre-screen employees for potential COVID-19 symptoms and related travel. If any employee has symptoms and/or has traveled, they may not work and must stay home for 3-14 days (depending on which criteria they meet). The orders also require employers to adopt social distancing standards. This list is changing regularly but here are the counties with employee health/travel screening orders we’re aware of. Please note, these are all slightly different and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.
  • IRS tax filing delay
    • U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on March 17 that the IRS will delay collection of tax payments 90 days for individual taxpayers with up to $1 million in payments and businesses with up to $10 million in payments.
    • On March 21 the IRS extended the filing and payment deadline to all taxpayers from April 15 to July 15.
  • State of Michigan tax filing delay
    • The State of Michigan extended tax filing deadlines from April 15 to July 15 to match the revised federal deadline.
    • For more information see Executive Order 2020-26.
  • Stay at home order guidance for employers from the state on what is and isn’t considered critical infrastructure.
  • Oakland County Stabilization Fund for Small Businesses
    • Small business owners with 100 or less employees in Oakland County can apply for either grant or loan funding.
    • To be eligible for either the grant or loan, the business must have experienced significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak or related state executive orders.
    • Small businesses can view the eligibility criteria on Oakland County’s website.
  • Pharmacy
    • Eased restrictions on pharmacists, increasing access to prescriptions 
      • On March 25, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-25 to allows emergency refills up to 60 days and permits out-of-state pharmacists/pharmacies to do business in Michigan by honoring other state licenses.
      • It is effective through April 22.
    • Medicaid early refill, signature requirements lifted
      • Medicaid-specific pharmacy requirements have been lifted regarding signatures and early refills (including override information).
      • For more information see the memo sent to pharmacy providers from MDHHS here.
  • WIC substitutions
    • Michigan WIC issued vendor guidance on substitutions (temporary WIC Food Expansion) that will be allowed as of April 1. MRA shared the approved substitution list with members early. (added 3/29/20)
  • SNAP supplemental benefits
    • Michigan was approved for additional benefits and customers will have those benefits available to them starting March 27 with staggered distribution through the week of March 30. A similar distribution is slated to happen at the end of April.


  • Non-essential, stay at home order issued for March 24 – April 13
    • The administration recommends that businesses read the order carefully and consult with their legal counsel on whether or not they are permitted to remain open and what functions they may continue.
    • While we cannot provide legal advice on whether your specific business can stay open, we can steer you in the right direction. The Governor listed the types of qualifying sectors in her Executive Order and also referenced guidance from the Director of U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Both of those documents are linked below and should help you in making your determination.
    • See the state’s frequently updating FAQs for more guidance.
    • Guidance from the Director of U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  • Bottle returns under Michigan’s bottle deposit law considered nonessential
    • The governor’s office clarified that they do not consider bottle and can returns under the state’s bottle deposit law an essential service under Executive Order 2020-21.
    • Grocers can temporarily stop accepting bottle and can returns as of March 24 – April 13.
      • The state has indicated that the FAQs on E.O. 2020-21 will be updated soon to include clarification in writing.
      • MRA requested the state follow Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont’s lead and suspend its enforcement of the bottle deposit law to allow workers to focus on providing essential services and avoid contamination from surfaces that may be harboring the coronavirus.
  • Federal government (FMCSA) has waived the expiration date for CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and CLP (Commercial Learners Permit) holders until June 30.
    • Many drivers have experienced issues with obtaining access to state licensing offices and to medical examiners to obtain the required physical.
    • The waiver extends the date of expiration – until June 30 – of applicable CDLs, CLPs, and non-CDL licenses of commercial drivers, as well as medical certificates that would otherwise expire between March 1 and June 30.
    • The waiver can be found here.

  • Non-essential, stay at home order issued for March 24 – April 13
    • On March 23, Gov. Whitmer issued an order urging residents to stay at home unless they deemed an essential worker or need to obtain necessary supplies.
    • There is an exemption for people “to obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves, their family or household members, and their vehicles. Individuals must secure such services or supplies via delivery to the maximum extent possible. As needed, however, individuals may leave the home or place of residence to purchase groceries, take-out food, gasoline, needed medical supplies, and any other products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of their residences.”
    • Notifications:
      • Businesses considered critical infrastructure can designate their suppliers and others needed to supply goods and materials for sale, clean, etc.
        • Businesses should send those designated entities a letter telling them they are critical to your business and able to operate.
      • Employees must be notified if they are considered essential. That can be done verbally through March 31, and then must bet put in writing: whether by electronic message, public website or other appropriate means.
        • No essential employees need letters from their employer that they are permitted to travel to and from work, no one will be pulled over by the police and asked for documentation.
    • For more information see Executive Order 2020-21.

  • Restaurants and bars, theaters, gyms, coffee houses, other places of accommodation
    • Business closures were extended through April 13 via E.O. 2020-20
    • Also ordered closed are facilities offering non-essential personal care services;
        • Non-essential personal care services includes but is not limited to: hair, nail, tanning, massage, traditional spa, tattoo, body art, and piercing services, and similar personal care services that require individuals to be within six feet of each other.
        • This does not include services necessary for medical treatment as determined by a licensed medical provider.
    • See Executive Order 2020-20 for more information and FAQs from the state.
      • Executive Order 2020-20 replaces Executive Order 2020-09.
  • SNAP
    • USDA and FNS issued guidance to states on 3/21/20 on adding emergency SNAP allotments (supplements) to families’ food assistance cards.
      • Recently approved federal legislation allows states to request and provide additional monthly benefits or new monthly benefits for families with children who would normally receive free or reduced price school meals but are unable to attend their school due to closure related to COVID-19.
      • State Agencies may submit plans for schools closed for at least 5 consecutive days during a public health emergency designation during which the school would otherwise be in session.
  • WIC:
    • Recent federal legislation allows states to waive the minimum stocking requirements set forth in 42 CFR 246.12(g)(3)(i). The approval to waive the minimum stocking requirements will include a waiver of onsite pre-authorization visits to check minimum stocking requirements.
    • No action has been taken yet on specific substitution allowances (of smaller sizes to equal the regular size) but language may be included in the next federal COVID-19 response bill slated to be worked on the week of March 23.

  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave
    • All companies with under 500 employees must provide eligible employees with 80 hours (10 days) of paid sick leave related to coronavirus.
      • The law includes a provision to allow the U.S. Secretary of Labor to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the requirements if it would jeopardize the viability of the business. (No exemption has happened yet.)
      • The law is set to take effect within 15 days after it was signed into law. That means it will be effective by April 2 but could be effective earlier than that.
    • For detailed information on benefits and employee eligibility requirements see our post on Emergency Paid Sick Leave and FMLA coverage.
  • Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage
    • All companies with under 500 employees must provide eligible employees with 12 total weeks of leave (first two weeks are unpaid, next 10 weeks are paid) emergency family medical leave. Employees are eligible if they are unable to work (or telework) because they have a son or daughter under 18 who requires care due to school closures or childcare-related closures (paid childcare facilities) due to coronavirus.
      • The law includes a provision to allow the U.S. Secretary of Labor to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the requirements if it would jeopardize the viability of the business. (No exemption has happened yet.)
    • For detailed information on benefits and employee eligibility requirements see our post on Emergency Paid Sick Leave and FMLA coverage.
  • Unemployment
    • The state is urging employers to put employees on temporary leave, if possible. This will ensure that workers do not have to job search while receiving benefits.
      • If you place workers on temporary leave, advise the worker that you expect to have work available within 120-days as opposed to termination.
      • There is no additional cost to employers, employees remain eligible for UI benefits through the state, and employees may remain eligible for potential federal assistance.
  • Price gouging
    • Retailers may not sell a product at a price that is more than 20 percent higher than what was charged prior to March 9, 2020.
      • Exception for increases directly related to product acquisition cost or if the product was discounted/on sale as of March 9, 2020. (updated 3/20/20)
    • See Executive Order 2020-18 for more information.
      • E.O. 2020-18 replaces E.O. 2020-8.

  • Michigan Employers FAQs on Coronavirus and Your Employees (information provided by law firm Foster Swift)
  • Restaurants and bars, theaters, gyms, coffee houses, other places of accommodation
    • FAQs on Executive Order 2020-09
    • Clarification that all seating areas in grocery stores, delis, coffee shops, etc. must be closed in addition to restaurant and bar dining/serving areas. They may remain open for take-out only.
  • Unemployment Work Share program
  • Small Business Administration disaster relief assistance loans
    • Michigan was granted a formal Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration from SBA on March 19.
  • Economic assistance for small businesses
    • On March 19, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved up to $20 million in support funds (grants and loans) for small businesses.
    • $10 million to local or nonprofit economic development organizations throughout the state to provide grants up to $10,000 each to support certain small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Grants will be to be distributed by nonprofit economic development organizations throughout the state.
    • $10 million in loans ranging from $50,000-$200,000 to small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) to be distributed by Community Development Financial Institutions (banks, credit unions, loan funds, microloan funds, or venture capital providers).
    • Companies eligible for either the grants or loans, must:
      • Be in an industry closed via Executive Order, or can demonstrate it is otherwise affected by the COVID-19 outbreak;
      • Needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business; and
      • The company is able to demonstrate an income loss as a result of the EO, or the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The legislature:
    • The House and Senate will meet at 10 a.m. on March 25, April 1, April 7 and April 15, according to new schedules issued on March 18.
  • State and local board, agencies and commission meetings
    • In-person state board and commission meetings are canceled through March 31. The state is working on setting up virtual meetings.
    • Workers’ Compensation in-person hearings are suspended until April 20.
    • Executive Order 2020-15 temporarily changed the Open Meetings Act to allow public bodies to conduct meetings electronically through April 15.
      • Public bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act include boards, commissions, committees, subcommittees, authorities, councils, and nonprofit boards.
      • These entities can use telephone- or video-conferencing methods to continue meeting and conducting business but must ensure meaningful access and participation by members of the public body and the general public.
      • See Executive Order 2020-15 for more information.
  • U.S.-Canada border closed to nonessential travel
    • An agreement reached between U.S. and Canadian governments on March 18 closed the entire Canadian border to non-essential travel.
    • The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel announced it would soon close to “nonessential personnel, including regular travelers,” but the closure time was not announced.
    • The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and the International Bridge in Sault Ste Marie will remain open.
    • Bridges will stay open for essential traffic and commercial goods.
  • Mackinac Bridge Authority
    • The Mackinac Bridge Authority will not accept cash transactions beginning March 21.

COVID-19 resources:

State closings and prohibitions on gatherings:

  • Non-essential, stay at home order issued for March 24 – April 13 (updated 3/24/20)
    • On March 23, Gov. Whitmer issued an order urging residents to stay at home unless they deemed an essential worker or need to obtain necessary supplies.
      • There is an exemption for people “to obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves, their family or household members, and their vehicles. Individuals must secure such services or supplies via delivery to the maximum extent possible. As needed, however, individuals may leave the home or place of residence to purchase groceries, take-out food, gasoline, needed medical supplies, and any other products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of their residences.”
      • The administration recommends that businesses read the order carefully and consult with their legal counsel on whether or not they are permitted to remain open and what functions they may continue. (added 3/24/20)
      • While we cannot provide legal advice on whether your specific business can stay open, we can steer you in the right direction. The Governor listed the types of qualifying sectors in her Executive Order and also referenced guidance from the Director of U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Both of those documents are linked below and should help you in making your determination. (added 3/24/20)
      • State guidance for employers on what is and isn’t considered critical infrastructure. (added 3/29/20)
    • Notifications:
      • Businesses considered critical infrastructure can designate their suppliers and others needed to supply goods and materials for sale, clean, etc.
        • Businesses should send those designated entities a letter telling them they are critical to your business and able to operate.
      • Employees must be notified if they are considered essential. That can be done verbally through March 31, and then must bet put in writing: whether by electronic message, public website or other appropriate means. (added 3/24/20)
        • No essential employees need letters from their employer that they are permitted to travel to and from work, no one will be pulled over by the police and asked for documentation.
    • For more information see Executive Order 2020-21. See the state’s frequently updating FAQs for more guidance.
    • Guidance from the Director of U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (added 3/24/20)


  • Schools:
    • On March 12, Gov. Whitmer ordered all schools in Michigan to close from March 16-April 5.
  • Public universities:
    • On March 11, most of the state’s public universities moved to online-only instruction and asked students to return to their permanent place of residence, if possible.

  • State and local board, agencies and commission meetings and courts (updated 3/19/20)
    • In-person state board and commission meetings are canceled through March 31. The state is working on setting up virtual meetings.
    • Workers’ Compensation in-person hearings are suspended until April 20.
    • Executive Order 2020-15 temporarily changed the Open Meetings Act to allow public bodies to conduct meetings electronically through April 15. (added 3/19/20)
      • Public bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act include boards, commissions, committees, subcommittees, authorities, councils, and nonprofit boards.
      • These entities can use telephone- or video-conferencing methods to continue meeting and conducting business but must ensure meaningful access and participation by members of the public body and the general public.
      • See Executive Order 2020-15 for more information.
    • Courts
      • May adjourn matters where defendant not in custody
      • Utilize video conferencing
      • Waive some fees and strict adherence to rules or procedural requirements

  • The legislature:
    • The House and Senate will meet at 10 a.m. on March 25, April 1, April 7 and April 15, according to new schedules issued on March 18. (added 3/19/20)
    • The legislature has asked all staff to work from home on non-session days and non-essential staff to work from home until further notice. All non-essential out-of-state work travel by Senate and House employees have been scrapped.
    • The legislature is specifically exempt from the prohibition on large gatherings.
  • State Capitol and related public gatherings:
    • All state Capitol public tours, receptions and legislative public gatherings are canceled until April 20.

  • No gatherings or assemblies of 50 people or more
    • Specifically exempts gatherings at health care facilities, workplaces or portions not open to the public, the state legislature, and those to perform agricultural or construction work, mass transit, or the purchase of groceries or consumer goods.
    • See Executive Order 2020-11 for more information.

  • Restaurants and bars, theaters, gyms, coffee houses, other places of accommodation (updated 3/22/20)
    • The following businesses were ordered to close as of 3:00 pm on March 16 and continuing through April 13. (updated 3/22/20 via E.O. 2020-20)
      • Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption;
        • This includes all seating areas in grocery stores, delis, coffee shops, etc. (added 3/19/20)
        • Restaurants and bars may continue providing to-go orders or drive through orders.
          • Restaurants can have only 5 members of the public inside at a time and they must remain 6 feet apart.
      • Bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other places of public accommodation offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption;
      • Hookah bars, cigar bars, and vaping lounges offering their products for on premises consumption;
      • Theaters, cinemas, and indoor and outdoor performance venues;
      • Libraries and museums;
      • Gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, and facilities offering non-essential personal care services;
        • Non-essential personal care services includes but is not limited to: hair, nail, tanning, massage, traditional spa, tattoo, body art, and piercing services, and similar personal care services that require individuals to be within six feet of each other.
        • This does not include services necessary for medical treatment as determined by a licensed medical provider.
      • Casinos licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, racetracks licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, and Millionaire Parties licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board;
      • Places of public amusement not otherwise listed above including but not limited to: amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.
      • The restrictions do not apply to:
        • Office buildings, grocery stores, markets, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, stores selling consumer goods, providers of medical equipment and supplies and health care facilities.
      • No retailers are ordered to close but should keep customers 6 feet apart.
    • The state’s Department of Natural Resources closed shooting ranges on March 18. (added 3/19/20)
    • See Executive Order 2020-20 for more information and FAQs from the state. (FAQs link added 3/19/20)
      • Executive Order 2020-20 replaces Executive Order 2020-09. (updated 3/22/20)

  • Limits on visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and juvenile justice facilities 
    • Prohibit visitors that are not necessary for the provision of medical care
    • Allow parents, foster parents, or guardians of individuals under 21.
    • See Executive Order 2020-7 for more information.

  • U.S.-Canada border closed to nonessential travel (added 3/19/20)
    • An agreement reached between U.S. and Canadian governments on March 18 closed the entire Canadian border to non-essential travel.
    • The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel announced it would soon close to “nonessential personnel, including regular travelers,” but the closure time was not announced.
    • The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and the International Bridge in Sault Ste Marie will remain open.
    • Bridges will stay open for essential traffic and commercial goods.
  • Mackinac Bridge Authority (added 3/19/20)
    • The Mackinac Bridge Authority will not accept cash transactions beginning March 21.


Economic relief for impacted businesses

  • Loans, loan guarantees and investments under the CARES Act: (added 3/30/20)
    • Under the CARES Act signed into law on March 27, the U.S. Treasury Secretary is permitted to make loans, loan guarantees and investments in an amount not to exceed $500 billion.
    • The Paycheck Protection Program is intended to promote the retention of employees by providing funds for short term expenses.
      • Available to businesses with fewer than 500 employees and in an amount not to exceed 250% of average monthly payroll.
      • Loans are eligible for forgiveness to the extent the money is used for payroll, rent, utilities and mortgage interest obligations. Loan repayments can also be deferred for a period of time.
      • The eligible loan period is retroactive to February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020.
    • There are certain prohibitions when taking advantage of these loans. These include prohibitions on stock buybacks and dividends, unless there is already an existing agreement or contract in place, and limits on executive compensation during the term of the loan plus a period of time thereafter.
    • The loans will be guaranteed by the Small Business Administration and will likely be issued by most FDIC insured banks. Retailers wishing to take advantage of these loans should be in contact with an appropriate lending institution to inquire about the application process.
    • For more information view our full post on the Federal CARES Act Includes Key Provisions for Retailers.
  • Small Business Administration disaster relief assistance loans
    • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
    • Michigan was granted a formal Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration from SBA on March 19. (updated 3/19/20)
      • Once granted, small businesses in qualifying areas will be able to access low-interest loans through the SBA.
      • In the interim, small businesses that could benefit from SBA loans are encouraged to start collecting the information they’ll need to complete and submit their application. Examples of information needed can be found here. For additional information or to obtain help preparing the loan application in advance of the declaration, please contact the Michigan SBA offices in Detroit or Grand Rapids.
  • Economic assistance for small businesses (added 3/19/20)
    • On March 19, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved up to $20 million in support funds (grants and loans) for small businesses.
    • $10 million to local or nonprofit economic development organizations throughout the state to provide grants up to $10,000 each to support certain small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Grants will be to be distributed by nonprofit economic development organizations throughout the state.
    • $10 million in loans ranging from $50,000-$200,000 to small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) to be distributed by Community Development Financial Institutions (banks, credit unions, loan funds, microloan funds, or venture capital providers).
    • Companies eligible for either the grants or loans, must:
      • Be in an industry closed via Executive Order, or can demonstrate it is otherwise affected by the COVID-19 outbreak;
      • Needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business; and
      • The company is able to demonstrate an income loss as a result of the EO, or the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Oakland County Stabilization Fund for Small Businesses (added 3/29/20)
    • Small business owners with 100 or less employees in Oakland County can apply for either grant or loan funding.
    • To be eligible for either the grant or loan, the business must have experienced significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak or related state executive orders.
    • Small businesses can view the eligibility criteria on Oakland County’s website.

  • Business tax relief under the CARES Act: (added 3/30/20)
    • Employers may now defer 50% of 2020 employer payroll taxes until December 31, 2021, with the remaining 50% due December 31, 2022.
    • 50% refundable payroll tax credit for employers who had their business fully or partially suspended.
    • Net operating losses from 2018, 2019 and 2020 can be carried back to the previous five years to offset taxable income. This will generate an immediate rebate on taxes already paid.
    • Businesses will now be able to deduct 50% of interest expenses from 2019 and 2020 (up from the current 30%).
    • Remodeling projects done by retailers and restaurants in 2018 and 2019 can be depreciated more quickly on an amended tax return. Those overpayments will be refunded because the CARES Act corrected a previous tax reform glitch that impacted the depreciation period for improvements.
    • For more information view our full post on the Federal CARES Act Includes Key Provisions for Retailers.
  • IRS tax filing delay (updated 3/29/20)
    • U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on March 17 that the IRS will delay collection of tax payments 90 days for individual taxpayers with up to $1 million in payments and businesses with up to $10 million in payments.
    • On March 21 the IRS extended the filing and payment deadline to all taxpayers from April 15 to July 15.
  • State of Michigan tax filing delay (added 3/29/20)
    • The State of Michigan extended tax filing deadlines from April 15 to July 15 to match the revised federal deadline.
    • For more information see Executive Order 2020-26.
  • State Sales, Use and Withholding (SUW) tax payment delay
    • On March 18, the Michigan Department of Treasury announced small businesses scheduled to make their monthly sales, use and withholding tax payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20.
      • The state Treasury Department will waive all penalties and interest for 30 days.
      • The waiver is not available for accelerated sales, use or withholding tax filers.
      • Businesses with questions should call the Treasury Business Tax Call Center at 517-636-6925.

  • Michigan Economic Development Corporation programs:
    • The call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit MEDC’s website: michiganbusiness.org or call 888.522.0103.
    • The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website https://sbdcmichigan.org/small-business-covid19/ for additional information.

Unemployment benefits, Work Share Program, Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA coverage

  • Current employees
    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (added 3/20/20)
      • All companies with under 500 employees must provide eligible employees with 80 hours (10 days) of paid sick leave related to coronavirus.
        • The law includes a provision to allow the U.S. Secretary of Labor to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the requirements if it would jeopardize the viability of the business. (No exemption has happened yet.)
        • It will be effective on April 1. (updated 3/29/20)
          • Employers are only eligible for tax credits for payments to employees beginning on April 1.
      • For detailed information on benefits and employee eligibility requirements see our post on Emergency Paid Sick Leave and FMLA coverage.
      • See additional information from the Department of Labor: Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQs. (added 3/29/20)
      • The act also includes a new posting requirement. The poster can be found here: Employee Rights Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. (added 3/29/20)
        • Employers with employees teleworking or working from home are encouraged to post the notice on their website and/or send it to employees via email.
    • Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage (added 3/20/20)
      • All companies with under 500 employees must provide eligible employees with 12 total weeks of leave (first two weeks are unpaid, next 10 weeks are paid) emergency family medical leave. Employees are eligible if they are unable to work (or telework) because they have a son or daughter under 18 who requires care due to school closures or childcare-related closures (paid childcare facilities) due to coronavirus.
        • The law includes a provision to allow the U.S. Secretary of Labor to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the requirements if it would jeopardize the viability of the business. (No exemption has happened yet.)
        • It will be effective on April 1. (updated 3/29/20)
          • Employers are only eligible for tax credits for payments to employees beginning on April 1.
      • For detailed information on benefits and employee eligibility requirements see our post on Emergency Paid Sick Leave and FMLA coverage.
      • See additional information from the Department of Labor: Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQs. (added 3/29/20)
      • The act also includes a new posting requirement. The poster can be found here: Employee Rights Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. (added 3/29/20)
        • Employers with employees teleworking or working from home are encouraged to post the notice on their website and/or send it to employees via email.

  • Underemployed or unemployed workers
    • Work Share program
      • The state expanded its Work Share Program for those filing between now and April 14 to prevent layoffs.
      • Work share allows an employer to have employees work reduced hours and receive a portion of weekly unemployment benefits.
      • Benefits are based on the percentage of reduced hours of work and pay and must result in a reduction in wages.
      • Employers are encouraged to implement the program that permits employers to maintain operational productivity during declines in regular business activity instead of laying off workers.
      • More information about Michigan’s Work Share Program can be found here and specific guidance related to COVID-19 is available here. (COVID-19 guidance added 3/29/20)
      • See Executive Order 2020-10 for more information and FAQs from the state. (FAQs link added 3/19/20)
    • Unemployment benefits:
      • State benefits have been extended for those who file between now and April 14 to cover:
        • Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, like childcare due to school closures or carrying for a loved one who becomes ill.
        • Workers who are sick, quarantined or immunocompromised and do not have access to paid leave time or are laid off.
        • First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined.
      • Additional federal benefits will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2020 to help workers impacted by COVID-19. (added 3/29/20)
        • Benefit payments are extended from 26 weeks to 39 weeks.
        • Supplements standard payments by $600.00 per week.
        • It also provides payments to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits, including self-employed individuals, who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.
      • The state is urging employers to put employees on temporary leave, if possible. This will ensure that workers do not have to job search while receiving benefits. (added 3/20/20)
        • If you place workers on temporary leave, advise the worker that you expect to have work available within 120-days as opposed to termination.
        • There is no additional cost to employers, employees remain eligible for UI benefits through the state, and employees may remain eligible for potential federal assistance.
        • Temporary leave unemployment form: a notice employers should provide to employees related to temporary layoffs that will be needed to file for unemployment benefits is available here. (added 3/29/20)
      • Benefits for unemployed workers will be increased:
        • Benefits will be increased from 20 to 26 weeks.
        • The application eligibility period will be increased from 14 to 28 days.
        • The normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.
      • Businesses won’t be charged if an employee becomes unemployed or is placed on temporary leave. It will instead be charged to the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s non-chargeable account. (added 3/29/20)
        • Effective March 25, 2020 at 11:59 pm, the benefits conferred on employers by this section are not available to employers determined to have misclassified workers.
      • The state urges unemployed workers to file for benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA  or by calling 1-866-500-0017 rather than going into an office.
        • A factsheet on how to apply for benefits can also be found here.
        • Michigan Works! resources can be found at MichiganWorks.org or by calling 1-800-285-WORKS.
        • See Executive Order 2020-24 (this replaces E.O. 2020-10) for more information and FAQs from the state. (FAQs link added 3/19/20)
          • E.O. 2020-24 is in effect through April 22.

Relaxed government regulations

  • Motor carriers
    • Seasonal weight restrictions lifted in Michigan
      • Michigan Department of Transportation announced on March 15 that it will exempt from seasonal weight restrictions motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts.
      • On March 16, the state formally lifted all state and local seasonal weight restrictions and restrictions on the noise and timing of loading and deliveries in support of relief efforts that provide medical supplies, food, sanitization and prevention supplies.
    • Federal government suspends hours of service requirements for drivers:
      • US DOT issued an emergency declaration that suspends Hours of Service requirements for drivers providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief. The emergency declaration specifically applies to the transportation of:
        • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
        • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-10 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants;
        • Food for emergency restocking of stores;
        • Equipment supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine and isolation facilities related to COVID-19;
        • Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes; and
        • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.
    • CDL and CLP expiration dates extended
      • The Federal government (FMCSA) has waived the expiration date for CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and CLP (Commercial Learners Permit) holders until June 30. (added 3/24/20)
      • Many drivers have experienced issues with obtaining access to state licensing offices and to medical examiners to obtain the required physical.
      • The waiver extends the date of expiration – until June 30 – of applicable CDLs, CLPs, and non-CDL licenses of commercial drivers, as well as medical certificates that would otherwise expire between March 1 and June 30.
      • The waiver can be found here.

  • Youth employment standards
    • The state confirmed on March 15 that youth employees (ages 14-17) can work additional hours (up to 48) while schools are closed.
    • If schools are issuing remote work, employers should ensure students are not exceeding 48 combined hours of schooling and work.

  • Bottle returns under Michigan’s bottle deposit law considered nonessential (updated 3/24/20)
    • The governor’s office clarified that they do not consider bottle and can returns under the state’s bottle deposit law an essential service under Executive Order 2020-21.
    • Grocers can temporarily stop accepting bottle and can returns as of March 24 – April 13.
      • The state has indicated that the FAQs on E.O. 2020-21 will be updated soon to include clarification in writing.
      • MRA requested the state follow Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont’s lead and suspend its enforcement of the bottle deposit law to allow workers to focus on providing essential services and avoid contamination from surfaces that may be harboring the coronavirus.


  • Eased restrictions on pharmacists, increasing access to prescriptions (added 3/29/20)
    • On March 25, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-25 to allows emergency refills up to 60 days and permits out-of-state pharmacists/pharmacies to do business in Michigan by honoring other state licenses.
    • It is effective through April 22.
  • Medicaid early refill, signature requirements lifted (added 3/29/20)
    • Medicaid-specific pharmacy requirements have been lifted regarding signatures and early refills (including override information).
    • For more information see the memo sent to pharmacy providers from MDHHS here.

Employee screening/social distancing requirements (added 3/29/20)

Several county health departments have adopted orders that require employers to pre-screen employees for potential COVID-19 symptoms and related travel. If any employee has symptoms and/or has traveled, they may not work and must stay home for 3-14 days (depending on which criteria they meet). The orders also require employers to adopt social distancing standards. This list is changing regularly but here are the counties with employee health/travel screening orders we’re aware of. Please note, these are all slightly different and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.

Price gouging

  • Starting March 16 at 9:00 a.m. through April 13, there are temporary, stricter restrictions on the excess pricing of goods, materials, emergency supplies and consumer food items through.
    • Violations are now a criminal offense (misdemeanor).
  • Retailers may not sell a product at a price that is more than 20 percent higher than what was charged prior to March 9, 2020. (updated 3/20/20)
    • Exception for increases directly related to product acquisition cost or if the product was discounted/on sale as of March 9, 2020. (updated 3/20/20)
  • Businesses or individuals cannot resell a product that is grossly in excess of the purchase price of the product.
  • See Executive Order 2020-18 for more information.
    • (EO 2020-18 replaces EO 2020-8 and was updated to include for increases due to a product having been discounted or on sale on March 9.)

Food benefits/industry guidance

  • Guidance for food establishments and their employees
    • MDARD and MDHHS issued joint guidance helping food establishments (retailers and restaurants) to keep their employees and customers safe while operating.

  • WIC: (updated 3/22/20)
    • The state’s WIC office reports it will continue doing stocking compliance checks but does not intend to cite retailers during the state of emergency for not having the appropriate depth in WIC-specific stocking requirements. Compliance investigators will likely ask retailers about their restocking plans. If you hear differently, please reach out to us.
      • Recent federal legislation allows states to waive the minimum stocking requirements set forth in 42 CFR 246.12(g)(3)(i). The approval to waive the minimum stocking requirements will include a waiver of onsite pre-authorization visits to check minimum stocking requirements.
      • Michigan WIC issued vendor guidance on substitutions (temporary WIC Food Expansion) that will be allowed as of April 1. MRA shared the approved substitution list with members early. (added 3/29/20)

  • SNAP: (updated 3/22/20)
    • USDA and FNS issued guidance to states on 3/21/20 on adding emergency SNAP allotments (supplements) to families’ food assistance cards.
      • Recently approved federal legislation allows states to request and provide additional monthly benefits or new monthly benefits for families with children who would normally receive free or reduced price school meals but are unable to attend their school due to closure related to COVID-19.
      • State Agencies may submit plans for schools closed for at least 5 consecutive days during a public health emergency designation during which the school would otherwise be in session.
    • Michigan was approved for additional benefits and customers will have those benefits available to them starting March 27 with staggered distribution through the week of March 30. A similar distribution is slated to happen at the end of April. (added 3/29/20)

Insurance

Recommended strategies for employers:

Tips from the CDC:

  • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [38.0° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
  • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.

  • CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).

  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
  • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

General prevention/safety information (provided by the State of Michigan):

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Replace handshakes with elbow bumps.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

COVID-19 symptoms to watch for:

  • Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath