Some Metro Detroit restaurants close, others stay open after Governor's recommendation

Posted at 10:48 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 23:20:51-04

(WXYZ) — “I’m strongly encouraging all Michiganders, to avoid dining indoors,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said during a Friday morning press conference on the State's surging COVID cases.

However, that message didn’t stop the dinner rush Friday night at Vinsetta Garage. Co-owner Curt Catallo says they’re not planning to shut down again.

“After having to be closed for so long, you’re going to do everything you can to stay open and make it as safe as possible,” Catallo said.

Vinsetta Garage has outdoor seats, spaced-out chairs, and masked servers. Catallo says they've followed every guideline put in place so far, and he feels when restaurants follow all the rules indoor dining can be done safely.

“When they say indoor dining is dangerous, it’s like saying swimming is dangerous," Catallo said. "If you're swimming in a riptide with sharks it’s definitely dangerous. If you’re swimming with a lifeguard in a pool and you’re taking precautions, it’s less dangerous.”

In a statement, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association says restaurants make up 0.3% of the outbreaks in this recent surge. However, during Friday's press briefing Dr. Joneigh Khaldun called out restaurants as a place where COVID 19 is spreading.

“We have seen 58 new outbreaks in just restaurant and retail settings alone in the past week, compared to the previous week,” Dr. Khaldun said.

However, other restaurants are taking a different approach.

“We woke up this morning not planning on doing this,” said Ryan Cottongim, co-owner of Witch's Hat Brewing in South Lyon.

Witch's Hat is now closing indoor dining, staying open for outdoor dining and carryout. They hope their closure only lasts 2 weeks.

"It is a tough decision that we have to make for the safety of our staff, and now at the same time we have to lay off a few of them," Cottongim said.

It’s a tough decision, now left up to the restaurant owners to make.

“At 50% capacity, we think we can provide indoor dining socially distanced and be as safe as possible," Catallo said. "That’s how we think we’ve been from the beginning.”