Michigan Officials Order New Foodservice Guidelines to Combat COVID-19

Retailers are required to halt self-serve foodservice programs, suspend free samples and more
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Photograph: Shutterstock

LANSING, Mich. — Retailers in Michigan are now required to close self-serve foodservice programs and eliminate free samples and testing stations to reduce exposure to COVID-19, according to an executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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The order also requires food retailers to wear protective gear over their nose and mouth and to ensure that both employees and customers stand at least 6 feet apart at all times. Operators must also adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC's) cleaning procedures for high-touch areas, including point-of-sale terminals at registers, shopping carts and shopping baskets.

Whitmer has also extended the deadline for certain forms of food licensing and registration during this time.

“While Michiganders fight this virus, we must continue to take aggressive action to reduce exposure and prevent a second spike in cases,” Whitmer said. “This is not the time to slow our efforts; we must continue to be smart.”

Beyond foodservice suspensions, retailers must not allow sick employees to return to work and are required to send employees home if they show symptoms of COVID-19, according to the order. For those who do fall ill and who are part of a vulnerable demographic, operators are required to provide lower-exposure work assignments or give these employees the option to take an unpaid leave of absence for the remainder of the pandemic. And retailers must implement a daily screening program for all staff upon or prior to reporting to work sites. 

The order also strongly urges customers to wear a face covering when entering a food establishment.

“By establishing these guidelines, we can protect Michigan families and our front-line workers,” Whitmer said. “When we come together, we can slow the spread of this virus and save lives.” 

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