LANSING, MICH., (WJMN) – Following the newly launched Ambassador Program to help businesses reopen safely, the State of Michigan is requiring gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, roller rinks, ice rinks, swimming pools and similar businesses to follow updated workplace safety guidelines. The new guidelines are in accordance with Executive Orders 2020-175 and 2020-153 to safeguard and prevent further spread of COVID-19 to the public and workers.
Under Executive Order 2020-176, these businesses are now allowed to be open in some capacity across the state and must follow state guidelines. While indoor services are allowed at 25% capacity, the executive order strongly suggests utilizing outdoor fitness classes when feasible – ensuring social distancing and that equipment and supplies are shared to the minimum extent possible and are subject to frequent and thorough disinfection and cleaning.
“It is critical for businesses reopening their doors to take every precaution to protect the health and safety of their workers, customers, and our communities,” COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan said. “Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible for businesses and ensure they have the tools and resources necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Violation of these orders can create risks to workers and the public.”
Education on the science and guidance is essential in order to prepare businesses to get open and stay open. To enhance the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (MIOSHA) consultative services, the Ambassador Program will send safety and health experts to businesses statewide now to offer education and support, with a focus on workplaces with a higher risk of community transmission. Employers and employees can work with Ambassadors to clarify regulations and determine how they apply to their specific workplace. To request consultation, education and training services, call 517-284-7720 or online at MIOSHA Request for Consultative Assistance.
MIOSHA has been working with Michigan employers to help comply with requirements of the Governor’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance and OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. To help businesses operate safely, the MIOSHA guidance for gyms and fitness centers and supporting reopening resources are posted at Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety.
“MIOSHA’s top priority is preventing hazards in the workplace to protect workers,” MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman said. “Employers who take the precautions seriously and follow the guidance in the workplace will help ensure a safe environment.”
Employers must create a written COVID-19 Preparedness and Response plan which includes exposure determination and outlines measures that will be taken to prevent employee exposure to COVID-19.
Guidelines that facilities must follow to be vigilant in preventing exposure to COVID-19, include but are not limited to:
- Maintain accurate records, including date and time of entry and exit, names of patrons and contact information, to aid with contact tracing; and deny entry to any visitor who does not provide at a minimum their name and phone number.
- To the extent feasible, configure workout stations or implement protocols to enable six feet of distance between individuals during exercise sessions.
- Indoor class sizes must be reduced to ten or less.
- Limit capacity in the facility to 25% of the total occupancy limits.
- Mandate wearing of facial coverings at all times except when swimming. Face shields are not sufficient.
- Regularly disinfect exercise equipment, including immediately after use. If patrons are expected to disinfect, post signs encouraging patrons to disinfect equipment.
- Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly.
- Close steam rooms and saunas, jacuzzies and cold plunge pools.
Businesses failing to comply with these orders may be subject up to $7,000 general industry safety fines from MIOSHA and penalties from local law enforcement or health departments.
Anyone with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the new hotline at 855-SAFE-C19 (855-723-3219).
To report health and safety concerns in the workplace, go to Michigan.gov/MIOSHAcomplaint.
Learn more about MIOSHA and its efforts to protect Michigan’s workforce during the pandemic and for information on the latest workplace safety guidance at Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety.