Outman introduces resolution to update ‘essential worker’ standards, get Michiganders back to work

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rick Outman on Tuesday voted to approve two resolutions that encourage Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to adopt the updated federal guidelines for essential workers and allow those in the medical field to resume elective procedures and surgeries.

“As we discuss plans for moving Michigan forward, we need to be sure we find the correct balance between people’s safety and their livelihoods — this isn’t a one-or-the-other situation,” said Outman, R-Six Lakes. “Businesses have proven they can safely operate with enhanced safety measures to keep customers and employees safe and workers who can return to work without posing a risk to themselves or others should be allowed the freedom to do so.”

In mid-March the federal government outlined standards for essential workers. Whitmer subsequently adopted the recommended guidelines for essential workers in Michigan. As new information and research were made available, the federal government issued amended guidelines on two separate occasions: the first set of changes came on March 28 and the most recent on April 17.

Senate Resolution 112, sponsored by Outman, calls on the governor to join other states in adopting the most recent federal guidelines for which employees are “essential.”

“Countless industries have seen changes to their specific requirements in the updated guidelines and workers in other states are returning to their jobs,” Outman said. “Things like home and commercial construction are allowed in neighboring states when proper safety measures are followed but remain shut down in Michigan. We need to acknowledge our trust in Michigan businesses and allow workers who are eager to get back to work the freedom to support their families.”

The Senate also approved SR 111 urging the governor to revise Executive Order 2020-17 and allow hospitals and health care facilities to resume elective procedures so Michiganders can get the care they need.

The executive order, which took effect March 21, required hospitals, freestanding surgical outpatient facilities, dental facilities, and all state-operated outpatient facilities to postpone all nonessential procedures. More than 12 states with similar executive restrictions have since dialed back those restrictions and deemed it safe for health care providers to resume elective procedures.

“Following outdated protocols leaves Michigan behind other states and unduly burdens Michigan families who could otherwise be safely returning to work,” Outman said. “Hospital staff and construction workers are already familiar with protective equipment and can effectively do their jobs under the modified guidelines. Our economy needs a boost, Michiganders need care, and our infrastructure needs maintaining. I encourage the governor to consider relaxing her previous restrictions and get more people back to work and our state back on track.”

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Editor’s note: A print-quality photograph of Outman speaking during Tuesday’s session is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorRickOutman.com. Click on “Photos” under the “In the News” tab. Video of Outman addressing the Senate Tuesday morning is also available here or on the senator’s website under “Video.”

Photo caption: State Sen Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, speaks in support his resolution, Senate Resolution 112, on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.