Update on COVID-19 Library Closures

April 23, 2020

Governor Whitmer is expected to announce extensions and adjustments to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order on Friday, April 24. Lawmakers argue that certain accommodations can be made to allow some businesses to return if proper safety precautions are made. Libraries will probably not be affected and should prepare for an extension of their closures.

To date, the most accurate summaries on the Executive Orders and other current legislative activity can be found in the attached information sheet compiled by the Library of Michigan.

"The executive orders on the restriction of places of public accommodation (EO 2020-20) and on the suspension of activities not necessary to sustain or protect life (EO 2020-42) indicate what businesses and entities must close to the public and which work-related activities are prohibited. Library boards and directors must review work duties in order to determine whether they meet the criteria state within the EOs, and which, if any, staff can work physically in the library.

It is important to note as libraries consider how to allocate tasks and whether to assign workers to in-person work, that the intent of EO 2020-20 and EO 2020-42 is to LIMIT PERSONAL CONTACT and KEEP PEOPLE AT HOME. The intent behind the exceptions that permit some work onsite is for employers (including libraries) to limit employees working onsite to the very minimum number needed to preserve the library’s essential operations. Keeping these tenets in mind may help libraries determine which tasks are truly “Minimum Basic Operations,” and which are not. "

This information sheet is intended as a tool to assist in clarification and decision making for Public Library Directors and Boards. It is not intended as legal advice. Library Boards and Directors should consult with their library attorneys when determining a plan or policy for their libraries: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/libraryofmichigan/Determining_Work_activity_under_Executive_Orders_2020-20_and_2020-42_686662_7.pdf

 


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