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AG Nessel's office, Mason County prosecutor, crack down on Community Action Agency

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Posted at 6:02 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 18:02:51-04

LANSING, Mich. — In coordination with Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola, the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sent a cease and desist letter Thursday to a coommunity action agency in Scottville. This was after receiving complaints that the organization was continuing to require non-critical infrastructure employees to report to work, despite multiple warnings from local police.

The letter was sent to Five CAP for failing to comply with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, which limits the operations of businesses and other entities during the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I appreciate Prosecutor Spaniola’s cooperation and the local law enforcement authorities in Mason County who are working to enforce the Stay Home, Stay Safe order,” Nessel said. “The intent of this order is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting person-to-person contact wherever possible, and that means businesses and other entities must reduce their staffing levels to what’s needed to perform only the most essential work. Any agency not complying with those instructions puts all of us at risk.”

The Attorney General’s office and Prosecutor Spaniola were made aware of several reports of Five CAP employees being called to work to file documents, draft letters and other clerical operations that are not critical to securing the safety or welfare of the people the organization serves.

The cease and desist letter demands Five CAP take action to follow social distancing guidelines and comply with the order by only maintaining necessary on-site operations.

Willful violations of the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order can result in a $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail for each offense, as well as licensing penalties for businesses and other entities.

The Attorney General’s office recently added a new section to its website, titled Know Your Employment Rights, to provide Michigan residents with more information on the legal rights of employees and employers under the executive order.