Michigan Program Aims to Help Educate Businesses on COVID-19

“Ambassadors” will visit c-stores, eateries and gyms to see if executive orders are followed but won’t issue citations.

September 15, 2020

LANSING, Mich.—Michigan is launching a new program to help businesses learn more about COVID-19 safety guidelines, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The state’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration will randomly send “ambassadors” to businesses to ensure that companies are doing everything necessary to operate safely during the pandemic. The ambassadors are part of the MIOSHA Ambassadors Program, and they will offer guidance on any issues that they find. No citations or penalties will be issued during their visit. 

The program will focus on convenience stores, restaurants, bars, gyms, gas stations, retail stores and bowling alleys, said Sean Egan, Michigan COVID-19 workplace director. Dense and urban areas will be assigned more consultants than other areas. 

The ambassadors will use an assessment during each visit to make sure that businesses are following Michigan’s executive orders, along with state and federal guidelines. 

“We just want to make sure that businesses understand what they need to be doing,” said Egan. “That includes ensuring that they have a preparedness and response plan in place, that they are requiring employees and customers to wear face coverings and that they are thinking through the things that they can do in their workplace to prevent COVID.” 

A list of guidelines for specific industries has been provided by the state, along with general workplace safety guidelines for COVID-19.

“Keep in mind that this is a consultation program, not an investigation,” said Egan. “The goal is to secure compliance through education, not to penalize employers. We would encourage them to take advantage of the opportunity.”

“Collaboration is key in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Bart Pickelman, MIOSHA director. “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve heard from many employers and employees wanting to clarify regulations and determine how they apply to their specific workplace. This ambassador effort will bring that education and support directly to businesses across the state.”

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.

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