Michigan restaurants ready to open indoor dining ASAP

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association has grants available for industry employees.
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 6:42 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - On January 12, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extended the restriction of indoor dining from January 15 to February 1.

Frustrated by the governor’s restrictions, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA), Justin Winslow, said enough is enough.

“We’re all at a loss as to why the restaurants are not opening today,” Winslow said. “As they really frankly should be. The data is clear, the need is great. We need a plan and we need to be able to reopen our doors.”

According to the MI Safe Start Map, daily case count in Michigan has been declining for the past 13 days as of Tuesday.

Nonetheless, some restaurant owners are understanding of the measures taken to prevent the spread.

“We’re following those orders and doing those best practices,” Vango’s Pizza Lounge co-owner Robert Caron said. “Both in the restaurant and in our personal lives in hopes that we can get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Though, with indoor dining closed, restaurants are now limited to mainly take out and delivery options which directly affects tip-based employees.

“We get like three dollars an hour,” Aubree’s server, Pearl McConnell said. “So, we live off tips basically. Now that everything is closed we all split the tips between two or three employees.”

Winslow says help is available through the MRLA.

“We, actually, at the association are running $45 million dollars of relief for displaced employees,” he said.

Individual employees could be eligible for up to $1,650. The deadline to apply is January 25. Apply here.

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