Criminal Liability for Disobeying Shelter-in-Place (or equivalent) Executive Order No. 2020-21.

Michigan’s Govenor Gretchen Whitmer ordered the closure of all physical business locations, unless exempt. However, many of the exemptions do not apply if they otherwise would (i.e. the order does apply) if the work can be reasonably done remotely. Speak with an attorney before keeping your business open to avoid (a) a criminal penalty, (b) causing unnecessary exposure through close person-to-person contact, and (c) public backlash for noncompliance.

What happens if I violate the order? A 90-day misdemeanor, see MCR 10.33 and MCR 30.405. While there is some ambiguity in the order, it is in the interest of you and your neighbors to obey the spirit of the order.

What does the order say? In essence, Executive Order 2020-21, says do what we can to suppress the spread of COVID-19. It orders individuals to shelter in their place of residence beginning March 24, 2020 at 12:01 am, continuing through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm unless exempt.

Relevant to a law firm, court proceedings are permissible, however other lawyer activities are not.

Permissible activities. You may leave your residence for medical care or another other essential service, or care for family members. You can obtain necessary supplies, food, medicine, cleaning products, fuel, etc. You can undertake outdoor activities, and you can work as a critical infrastructure worker. People must abide by physical distancing (more often called “social distancing”) of six feet or more. When maximally possible: “[i]ndividuals must secure such services or supplies via delivery…”

Critical infrastructure workers “are those workers described by the Director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in his guidance of March 19, 2020 on the COVID-19 response (available here).” This includes some workers in each of the following sectors: Health care and public health; Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders; Food and agriculture; Energy; Water and wastewater; Transportation and logistics; Public works; Communications and information technology, including news media; Other community-based government operations and essential functions; Critical manufacturing; Hazardous materials; Financial services; Chemical supply chains and safety; and Defense industrial base.

But it is the spirit of the order that is most important to protect others and yourself.

What about my employees? If you have specific questions about your particular employment situation, you may contact Zamzow Fabian PLLC for more information. Including naming certain individuals to act in certain essential functions.