Michigan restaurant association says continuation of indoor dining pause is 'unacceptable'

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Posted at 1:44 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 17:38:52-05

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association says the state's decision to continue the pause on indoor dining until at least Feb. 1 is "unacceptable."

RELATED: Whitmer hopeful indoor dining will resume with capacity restrictions, curfew on Feb. 1

"The governor’s continuation of this pause without a plan—now expanding to 75 days—is without parallel in the nation in terms of its unwillingness or inability to provide leadership to a decimated industry and its workforce," MRLA President & CEO Justin Winslow said.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she is hopeful that restaurants will be able to open for indoor dining starting Monday, Feb. 1, with safety measures.

Speaking Wednesday at a press conference, Whitmer said they are working on a path to allow indoor dining.

"If numbers continue to head in the right direction, our hope is to resume indoor dining with strong safety measures on Feb. 1," Whitmer said.

According to Whitmer, the safety measures would include mask requirements, capacity limits and a curfew.

She said they expect to make an announcement on that soon.

"There are more than 100,000 unemployed hospitality workers and thousands of small operators on the edge of bankruptcy all waiting for hope and direction, and once again it did not come," Winslow said. "This is unacceptable and we should all demand more accountability."

Winslow accused the Whitmer administration of not having a discernable, data-driven path to reopen and fully integrate in the economy.

Additionally, the MRLA pointed out that Michigan has not announced a plan to prioritize vaccination for the hospitality industry.

Whitmer said indoor dining at restaurants is "risky" due to the nature of the virus. She justified the decision to keep indoor dining closed due to an uptick in case positivity and tests, a concern the state had after the holidays.

"The numbers, as I've said, have driven all decisions," she said. "We want the industry to be successful. I know that people are frustrated, it's just the nature of this virus."

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