We have gathered member questions answered by our general counsel, Jeff King, working with Lobbyit as well as FAQs on Business insurance to create this resource. This page will continue to grow. Please check back often.
I would like to raise a very serious constitutional issue. Why are the "Big Box" stores allowed to be open and sell flooring when smaller flooring retailers are forced to remain closed? I live in Michigan and our Governor is allowing Big Box stores to sell flooring, but not allowing smaller flooring retailers to open which sell the same products. Small retailers have less employees and typically only have 1 to 2 customers in the store at one time, which would reduce the chances of virus spread, while Big Box stores have hundreds of employees and customers. This makes absolutely no sense on a Health & Safety viewpoint as well. Something needs to be done about this and I for one am willing to join any legal effort to correct this. I hope your Association is willing to stand up for small business retailers and look forward to hearing from you.
Your concerns are legitimate and have been raised by a number of members.
The issue is who is considered an essential business under each shelter in place order. There are a number of places with “shelter-in-place” orders. All to my knowledge have an exemption of some type of construction and companies that supply construction products to do infrastructure work and repairs. The most common are for completion of existing projects and emergency repairs. The Big Box stores are likely to be exempt because they supply emergency supplies (eg., plumbing, electrical. etc.). and I suspect are exempt at least for those needs in all the shelter in place orders. Many flooring stores can also be open to the extent that they are supplying flooring to complete a project or to do need emergency repairs.
I am not licensed in Michigan, so I cannot advise on the shelter in place order issued by the Governor. I did notice that ¶ 9 of the order allows:
- A business or operation that employs critical infrastructure workers may designate suppliers, distribution centers, or service providers whose continued operation is necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of its critical infrastructure workers.
- Such suppliers, distribution centers, or service providers may designate workers as critical infrastructure workers only to the extent those workers are necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of the original operation’s or business’s critical infrastructure workers.
- Designated suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers may in turn designate additional suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers whose continued operation is necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of their critical infrastructure workers.
- Such additional suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers may designate workers as critical infrastructure workers only to the extent that those workers are necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of the critical infrastructure workers at the supplier, distribution center, or service provider that has designated them.
As I read the Order, a floor covering store can be designated as a supplier for critical infrastructure workers to the limited extent that the supplies are necessary to make the exempt infrastructure repairs, etc. As the Order reads, the Big Boxes can only supply goods needed for critical infrastructure work, and should not be selling to the general public.
I hope this helps to understand the rules on shelter in place and how the Big Boxes are interpreting the orders to allow them to stay open.
Our general counsel, Jeff King, working with Lobbyit, has been responding to Member questions about the recent legislation passed in response to the Coronavirus crisis. We have compiled the most common questions and answers here.
With many states and localities easing their shelter in place orders, flooring retailers and contractors will begin reopening their facilities and bringing back employees. We have gathered members questions revolving around this ever-changing environment here.