Resources available to businesses affected by COVID-19, shelter in place order

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, directing all noncritical businesses to temporarily close and all Michiganders to stay home.

The order broadly prohibits in-person work at businesses unless the business is deemed necessary to sustain or protect life or the work is required to conduct minimum basic operations.

Sen. Kim LaSata, who was recently appointed to the Senate’s Economic and Small Business Development Committee, said Tuesday that there are resources available for businesses that may be struggling during this uncertain time.

“Businesses throughout Southwest Michigan are experiencing unprecedented hardship due to the coronavirus outbreak and the necessary measures that have been taken to help reduce the spread of the virus,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “Thankfully, there are some resources available to help minimize the losses that are being caused by this unprecedented situation.”

A list of resources available for businesses includes:

  • A Work Share Program to help employees and employers during a time of reduced hours.
  • Information on Unemployment Insurance for employers.
    • An employer or employing unit will not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations.
  • The state’s Office of Employer Ombudsman is available to assist with questions at 1-855-484-2636.
  • Resources from the Michigan Small Business Development Center may be found at org.
  • Michigan Economic Development Corporation resources are available at orgor by calling 888-522-0103.

Businesses that remain open for in-person work must take aggressive steps to minimize the virus spread:

  • Promote remote work to the fullest extent possible.
  • Restrict the number of workers present in-person on the job.
  • Keep employees at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible and enable social distancing for customers who are standing in line.
  • Employ any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A federal guide of who are considered to be essential workers is available here.

“I have reached out to many local small businesses to get their feedback and to learn how they have been impacted by this situation and will continue to do so,” LaSata said. “I am committed to doing what I can to help our job providers, especially during this time.”

The governor’s administration has provided a frequently asked questions website related to the executive order, which may be found here.

For the latest information on the state’s response to the outbreak, visit