Michigan Bars and Restaurants Shutdown Indoor Dining Service for Three Weeks

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Image credit: Drew Beamer / Unsplash

A federal lawsuit has been filed to fight the dining industry’s inclusion in a statewide order aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

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Indoor dining services around Michigan have come to a halt. The mandatory freeze is part of a statewide shutdown order issued in response to rising in COVID-19 case numbers.

With cold temperatures making outdoor dining less feasible, the rule leaves restaurants and bars relying on carryout orders through December 9th.

There’s going to be upwards of 250,000 layoffs or furloughs coming directly from the restaurant industry.” — Justin Winslow, Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association 

Justin Winslow is president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association. He says without financial relief from the government, the carryout-only model won’t work for all businesses.

When we pulled our members of likely possible outcomes this fall,” says Winslow, “40% said if there is a second shutdown, they’re going to at least temporarily close. About 12% of them said they were going to close permanently because they’re that close to being on the edge.”

Winslow says about 250,000 industry workers around the state could be facing layoffs or furloughs in the next three weeks.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association has filed a federal lawsuit contesting the shutdown order’s ban on indoor dining. Winslow says his group would be willing to agree to a 25% capacity limit and a 10 p.m. curfew for the industry statewide. 

By putting those out,” says Winslow, “the little bit of transmission that was coming from this industry could be mitigated and the fallout in this industry could be dramatically reduced.”

According to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, bars and restaurants were responsible for 21 reported COVID outbreaks last week. That’s compared to 57 outbreaks tied to K-12 schools and 59 at long-term care facilities.

Click on the player above to hear Justin Winslow of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association discuss the shutdown order’s impact on the foodservice industry.

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Alex McLenon, Associate Producer

Alex McLenon is an Associate Producer with 101.9 WDET. McLenon has many interests; from cars and sports to arts and science. During college he amassed four years of experience as a Zamboni driver and acknowledges spending far too much money on his CD collection.

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