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Metro Detroit Service Workers: Tell WDET Your Response to Restaurants, Bars Temporarily Closing

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Image credit: Laura Herberg/WDET

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued an executive order which temporarily closes places of public accommodation. Service workers were already experiencing anxiety and job security worries.

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Public gathering spaces in the state of Michigan are shuttering in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued an executive order which temporarily closes places of public accommodation, including theaters, bars, and casinos, and limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders only. The order goes into effect today, March 16, at 3:00 pm. Order restrictions will remain in place until March 30 at 11:59 pm.

Do you work in the service industry? Tell us how this executive order impacts you »

These restrictions do not apply to office buildings, grocery stores, markets, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, providers of medical equipment and supplies, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, juvenile justice facilities, warehouse and distribution centers, and industrial and manufacturing facilities. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant and foodservice jobs in Michigan total nearly 450,000, accounting for 10% of employment in the state.

Are you experiencing financial hardship? Find out how to apply to expanded unemployment benefits here.

Last week, we asked service industry workers how coronavirus was affecting their jobs. Here’s what we heard from them, before the executive order was in effect:

International Express delivery service. Our company is Global. They have been great at keeping us informed and putting ours and our customer’s safety first. Adjusting policies to accommodate customers. We can’t stop it but we can stay informed and take precautions. Grateful for their leadership.

— Lori Swain Maier

Bartender and event/banquet employee where work has been canceled through end of March, at a minimum.

— Kasey O’Brien

Flight ✈️ Attendant; still scheduled for Amsterdam on the 27th… wash hands and sanitize at every chance; was at FedEx, oil change, gas station, Kroger service counter today… not sure why no hand sanitizer out but I carry my own…

Heather Melchior

I’m an ELL tutor (with an occasional German student), and yesterday I had a student cancel all one-on-one classes with her family. She’s from Italy, and very concerned about this. Luckily, I was able to suggest virtual classes, so hopefully that will work for us.

Kim Kolleth Jacobs

While some businesses have closed entirely, other members of Detroit’s small business community are encouraging consumers to utilize their curbside delivery services or buy gift cards for future use in order to support them during this tumultuous period.

Do you have additional ideas about how to support the small business community? Let us know »

Applying for Unemployment

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order to temporarily expand eligibility for unemployment benefits, effective immediately and until Tuesday, April 14 at 11:59 PM.

Under this order, unemployment would be expanded to:

  • Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill. 
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off. 
  • First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19. 

Access to benefits for unemployed workers will also be extended:

  • Benefits will be increased from 20 to 26 weeks. 
  • The application eligibility period will be increased from 14 to 28 days 
  • The normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.  

Eligible employees should apply for unemployment benefits online at  or 1-866-500-0017. A factsheet on how to apply for benefits can be found here.  

Related Coverage »

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Meta Stange , Digital Producer

Meta Stange is the Digital Producer for 101.9 WDET, running the station’s social channels and creating digital editorial content. She enjoys reading, making bad jokes, and hanging out with her dog, Salmon. Follow @METASTIC

This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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