CEO of UWM hit with emergency order after more than 50 workers get COVID-19

The Michigan agency said that it had received “numerous complaints” about violations of health orders

The Oakland County Health Division in Michigan sent an emergency order to Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage and United Shore Financial Services, saying employees weren’t wearing masks at work, contributing to the spread of the coronavirus.

The emergency order issued on Tuesday said over 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among workers at United Shore’s headquarters in Pontiac, Michigan, an address it shares with UWM, the nation’s largest wholesale lender.

The agency said that it had received “numerous complaints” that United Shore was operating a business “in direct violation of the Governors Executive Order 2020-161, that requires minimum activities for business operations and Executive Order 2020-153 that requires masks to be worn over the mouth and nose when in an indoor space.”

The Local Health Officer ordered UWM’s Ishbia to:

  • Develop and implement a plan to manage and control social/physical distancing with at least 6 feet spacing.
  • Ensure employees are wearing facial coverings.
  • Develop and implement a daily screening process and stay-home-when-sick policy.
  • Encourage working from home, when possible.

If the company does not cooperate, it could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of up to $200 per day, or both, the emergency order said.

A spokesperson for United Shore said the location is currently operating at less than half capacity.

“All team members who are back in the office either need to be here to perform their role or have self-selected to return,” the spokesperson said.

For employees working from home, returning to work will remain optional until January 2021, the spokesperson said.

United Shore has taken “extensive measures to ensure compliance with all guidelines set forth by the state, the CDC, and MIOSHA,” the person said, referring to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The company also said it has taken additional precautions such as placing acrylic shields between desks, enforcing mandatory masks, providing free masks, making gloves available, installing extra hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, and closing the gym.

“If at any time a team member is exhibiting COVID symptoms, feeling ill, or we are notified of a positive COVID test, the team member, along with anyone they have been in close contact with, is sent to work from home immediately until a doctor’s note is provided allowing them to return,” the spokesperson said. “We feel confident with the steps we have taken to ensure the continued safety for our team members while they are here in our building.”

The building has more than 2,800 parking spots, and most of the spaces were full when a reporter drove through the lot on Wednesday, according to a Crain’s Detroit story that same day.

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