Essential Cooking: State Sen. Mallory McMorrow on the restaurant industry and pandemic shutdowns

In this episode of Essential Cooking, State Sen. Mallory McMorrow joins Ann Delisi and James Rigato to talk about how COVID-19 forced the state government and restaurant industry to work together.

Portrait of state Sen. Mallory McMorrow wearing a white top and blue blazer

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In this episode:

  • State Sen. Mallory McMorrow on state government working with bars and restaurants when the pandemic hit
  • The highs and lows of talking with constituents
  • How the health of the Great Lakes region’s ecosystem affects bars and restaurants

Two years into the pandemic, Michigan’s restaurants have endured staff shortages, price increases, rude customers and a handful of shutdowns. Remnants of those days — socially distant igloos, QR codes subbed for paper menus — remain.

State Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), a former bartender and supporter of the service industry, was a state senator when the pandemic hit Michigan. 

When the state began issuing shutdown orders for businesses, elected officials were forced to make fast decisions in the interest of public health. Bars and restaurants were hit especially hard, with many shutting their doors for good. 

“I don’t necessarily know that anybody was right,” says McMorrow, “everybody was trying to make the best decisions with all the information we had in real time. And history is going to tell how that went.”

As a result of the pandemic, the service industry is still battling staffing shortages, supply chain issues and inflation.

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  • David Leins
    David Leins is a Podcast Coordinator and Producer at WDET. He also oversees the StoryMakers program. When he isn't making radio and podcasts, David is probably on a hike somewhere marveling at the trees.