Is It Smart To Again Close Restaurants For Dine-In Service?
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association is taking a dim view of the latest COVID-19 virus orders from Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Just like a previous order requiring restaurants to obtain dine-in customers' names and phone numbers, an order later backtracked, the association believes it is being unfairly singled out for damaging business restrictions. The new order from the Governor, through Director Robert Gordon at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, closes all Michigan restaurants for dine-in services for three weeks starting tomorrow, Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
Restaurant Association President and CEO Justin Winslow is beyond critical of the new order, saying in a public release, "We recognize that there are no easy decisions right now and so we have an appreciation of the challenge before Director Gordon and all Michiganders as we continue our fight against COVID-19. That said, we are profoundly disappointed by his decision to shutter restaurants for a second time this year – this time with no safety net of federal stimulus dollars to soften the blow to already ailing operators and employees.”
Governor Whitmer essentially admitted to the financial hardship she was forcing restaurants and employees to endure when she pleaded to President Donald Trump Sunday evening to help develop a new federal stimulus package to help the states unemployed. The Detroit Free Press reports the Governor repeated that admission to capitol reporters on Monday saying covering unemployment funding will be tough and she and other Governors will be jointly pressing their need for money to the administration.
In the meantime, the Governor will take heat from thousands of restaurants across the state with industry association President Winslow proclaiming, “We were hopeful that eight months into this pandemic that we could collectively recognize that there is an inherent and insatiable desire for humans to congregate, often over food. Shutting down dine-in service removes the ability to accommodate that natural human desire in a highly regulated, sanitized, capacity-limited and appropriately spaced setting in a restaurant. Instead, it will drive that behavior to innumerable residential social gatherings over the holidays, which have already proven to be super-spreader environments.”