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MDARD Director McDowell issues emergency rules to protect agricultural workers

LANSING — Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell issued Pandemic Public Health Measures in Migrant Agricultural Worker Housing Emergency Rules, which require licensed housing providers to create and implement plans to prevent exposure to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, care for individuals with COVID-19, and take measures to help prevent the spread of the virus among workers.

The emergency rules are similar to guidance issued by Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in 2020, including provisions requiring licensed housing providers to have a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.

“Under Governor Whitmer’s leadership, Michigan’s farmers, farm workers, and the public health community came together last year to protect migrant and seasonal agricultural workers from COVID-19,” said McDowell. “With growing season on the horizon, we need to implement a framework that ensures those protection remain in place this year.”

The new rules, created under the state’s Administrative Procedures Act emergency rules provisions, went into effect today after being filed with the Office of the Great Seal. These rules will be in place for up to six months and may be extended once for an additional six-month period, if needed.

To assist with COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, MDARD has provided a checklist that outlines the content needed for the COVID-19 preparedness and response plan. MDARD staff will review the COVID-19 preparedness and response plan as part of the licensing process.

Migrant labor housing providers who have already received their 2021 license will have until April 1, 2021, to comply with the provisions in the emergency rules.

To view the rules, visit Michigan.gov/MOAHR. To view the COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and FAQ sheet, visit Michigan.gov/MLH.

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