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Business groups push for April office re-opening

Adolfo Felix

A coalition of business groups is calling on the governor and the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration to allow more people to return to offices to do their jobs.

The MIOSHA rule expires April 14, but it can be renewed for six months. It says people can’t go to the office if they can work from home.Richard Studley of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce said Thursday that businesses have learned how to operate safely during the pandemic.

“Employers across the state of every size and type have worked morning, noon, and night to protect their employees, to protect their customers, to engage in social distancing, to wear masks, and to take other extraordinary measures to guarantee a safe workplace,” Studley says.

Veronica Horn is with the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce.

“Zoom is nice, but it simply doesn’t replace the need for in-person work in complex situations. I think we’ve all learned it’s hard to innovate and collaborate from our kitchen tables,” says Horn.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced this week a task force will come up with plans to let offices re-open, but did not set a timeline.

“We believe the governor should eliminate the full ban on in-office work, and trust businesses and employees to follow safety protocols and determine what works best for them,” says Horn.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.