FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — While Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that Feb. 1 is the goal to return to in-person dining, many restaurants are left wondering how, if not when, they can open their doors.
Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association President Justin Winslow has been critical of the state government’s actions regarding the hospitality industry. While extending the date and eyeing the beginning of February as a possibility to open up, Whitmer offered no parameters for how restaurant owners can start bringing back their customers.
“Are we at 50 percent capacity, something less, will there be a curfew,” Winslow says. “What other hoops might this industry have to jump through to be able to get stores back open?”
The Michigan government put in place three metrics that needed to trend downward for a safe reopening of the economy: the 7-day average of COVID-19 cases per day, percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and the percent positivity rate, all of which have been trending downward.
“We’re so dumbfounded,” Winslow says. “All of the evidence is clear. Nearly 3,000 restaurants have closed that were open in 2020.”