Restaurant Restrictions in Michigan Extended Through the End of March
It's been a looong and tough battle for the restaurant and hospitality industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic so it was a joyous occasion when they were allowed to reopen for indoor dining and service after months of being closed. Currently, restaurants are only allowed to be open at a 25% capacity, and unfortunately, that's going to last longer than we realized.
Originally, the restrictions was supposed to be lifted on February 21 but several sources say MDHHS "quietly" extended the restaurant restriction until March 29th. The Detroit Free Press says it was extended the same day it was announced that high school sports can resume on February 4. However, no public word was made by the MDHHS or Governor Whitmer.
On Wednesday, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association put together a plan that would determine indoor capacity based on positive COVID-19 results. The plan says that once results in the state went below 3% they could reopen at 100% capacity. According to MLive, that number is currently at 3.5%.
Restaurant owners expected that they'd be allowed to increase their capacity to 50% this Sunday but now must remain as is. They will also have to continue the 10 p.m. curfew. Several owners gathered on Thursday to make their plea with the Michigan House Oversight Committee to allow them to reopen at a 50% capacity. After hearing testimonies from everyone, a West Michigan representative asked the governor to rethink the order.
These restrictions not only decimate the financial health of these businesses but have a profound impact on the lives of those that work in the foodservice industry. The government cannot continue to take away their livelihoods.
A statement from MDHHS to the Free Press said that they've made their decisions based on science and data.
When MDHHS is confident that additional steps can be taken safely, the department will update the order.
The full executive order can be viewed here, which states at the bottom that the entire order will remain in effect until March 29th at 11:59 p.m.