Aug 17, 2020
Court denies temporary restraining order on testing of Michigan ag, food employees

After the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan denied a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit challenging Michigan’s order requiring the testing of farm and food processing employees for COVID-19, the Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services  has applauded the court’s denial and says that the order remains in effect.

Director Robert Gordon said in a news release the decision regarding a lawsuit challenging the department’s order requiring testing to protect farm and food processing employees from COVID-19 means the order is still valid.

“MDHHS appreciates the judge’s ruling,” Gordon said. “The department’s goal is to save lives during a pandemic that has killed more than 6,300 people in Michigan. At a time when farms, food processing plants and migrant worker camps face 21 outbreaks, the best way to save lives is to support and test these hard-working employees.”

The original testing order, which was announced on Aug. 3, remains in effect, and requires migrant housing camp operators to provide COVID-19 testing as follows:

  • One-time baseline testing of all residents ages 18 and over.
  • Testing of all new residents with 48 hours of arrival, with separate housing for newly arriving residents for 14 days and a second test 10 – 14 days after arrival.
  • Testing of any resident with symptoms or exposure.

Employers of migrant or seasonal workers, meat, poultry and egg processing facilities and greenhouses with over 20 employees on-site at a time to provide COVID-19 testing as follows:

  • One-time baseline testing of all workers.
  • Testing of all new workers prior to any in-person work.
  • Testing of any worker with symptoms or exposure.

The deadline for businesses to comply is a week from today on Monday, August 24th. Those seeking assistance with compliance can email [email protected] Additional information, including a Frequently Asked Question document, is available on the COVID-19 website at this link:

https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_101429—,00.html

State officials said that failure to comply with the order may result in the issuance of a civil monetary penalty under the authority of MCL 333.2262.


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