Governor Whitmer’s latest ban on indoor dining is due to expire after January 15th.    Many people believe she will order her Department of Health and Human Services to extend it again, as she did just before Christmas.  Still, some are hoping for the best and one state lawmaker is introducing a resolution to encourage people to plan on dining in on January 16th.

Rep. John Damoose, of Harbor Springs, is leading efforts to celebrate what he calls " the expected reopening" of the industry as “Restaurant Dine-In Day” across Michigan.

Rep. Damoose Photo

Damoose is introducing a resolution to officially encourage residents to safely dine-in on January 16th as restaurants are expected to resume full operations. The appreciation day comes after COVID-related health orders that have banned in-person dining are scheduled to expire.

“Our restaurants and their hardworking employees have suffered greatly over the past year. Michigan House Republicans want to do all we can to help them get off to a great start in 2021,” Damoose said. “We encourage everyone in our state to safely dine-in on January 16th and celebrate the reopening of their favorite restaurant.”

Another State Representative, Mark Tisdel, of Rochester Hills, has also raised concerns.  “I have listened to concerns from several people in the bar and restaurant industry who are absolutely desperate,” Tisdel said. “Establishments that were flourishing before the pandemic are now hanging on by a thread. The longer this indoor dining ban drags on, the more I worry about what it could mean for the people who rely on these jobs to put food on the table and pay their bills.”

Rep. Tisdel said Gov. Whitmer and her administration owe the many Michigan residents who earn their livelihoods from the food and beverage industry an explanation.

Rep. Julie Calley, of Barry County  agrees

. “I’m deeply worried that if she extends again, it will be the nail in the coffin for hardworking people who earn their livings waiting tables, serving drinks and preparing delicious food.  I have heard from so many restaurant owners who feel victimized and discriminated against by the arbitrary shutdown, which the state has no real data to support.”

“MDHHS must describe, with specifics, how taking a third of restaurant and bar revenues – after more than 140 days of limited or no service since March 16, 2020 – has and will reduce hospital bed occupancy, transmission and positivity rates,” Tisdel said. “The servers, cooks, bartenders and small business owners in our community deserve clear and direct facts about what is driving the decision and what metrics must be met before they can resume doing business indoors.”

Damoose encouraged customers to “order a lot and tip big” as restaurants reopen.   Michigan has about 16,500 eating and drinking establishments employing more than 447,000 people.

“There is no indication that MDHHS understands the impact a dine-in ban from Nov. 18 to, now, Jan. 15 will have on restaurant and bar bottom lines,” Tisdel said. “The first three-months of 2021 will show that impact with more permanent business closures.”

“Restaurants have worked hard to implement best practices for safety – please follow them when you visit,” Damoose said. “Let’s celebrate our restaurants, and let them know we support them and everything they do for our communities.”

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