MI Restaurant Industry Leader Calls Restriction Extension Unacceptable

Saying that the continued “pause” keeping bars and restaurants sidelined from any indoor dining is “unacceptable,” the head of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA), President & CEO, Justin Winslow, says, “We should all demand more accountability.”

Winslow released a statement and accompanying data this afternoon following Governor’s Whitmer’s news conference, saying, “”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. 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. This is unacceptable and we should all demand more accountability.”

Winslow goes on to argue, “Michigan’s restaurants have been closed for more days than any other state since the onset of the pandemic and Michigan stands alone as the only remaining statewide closure of dining rooms without a discernible, data-driven path to reopen and fully reintegrate in the economy. This, too, is unacceptable and we should all demand more accountability.”

Winslow offers these “Important Points to Consider:”

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    • Michigan has met all 3 of the “Key Metrics for Safe Restart” established by MDHHS:
      • 7-day average of new cases per day
        • Nov. 18, 2020: 6,932
        • Dec. 17, 2020: 4,234
        • Jan. 12, 2021: 3,029
      • COVID-19 hospitalizations
        • Nov. 18, 2020: 3,792
        • Dec. 17, 2020: 3,547
        • Jan. 12, 2021: 2,415
      • Percent positivity
        • Nov. 18, 2020: 13.45-percent
        • Dec. 17, 2020: 9.6-percent
        • Jan. 12, 2021: 7.16-percent
    • Michigan’s hospitality job loss is twice the national average measured as a percent working in the industry today compared to February 2020 (last month prior to pandemic)
    • Michigan is a bottom 5 state for hospitality jobs as a percentage of what they were 12 months prior.
    • Michigan is a bottom 3 state for restaurant specific jobs as a percentage of what they were in February.
    • Michigan has not prioritized vaccination for the hospitality industry, unlike most states that have similarly poor hospitality job loss. (For example: Washington D.C. is conducting all restaurant vaccination in early February and New York City in early March. Michigan hotel and restaurant workers are slotted for mid-May if the proposed schedule remains intact.)

Meanwhile, the following statement has been issued from Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox regarding Governor Whitmer’s continued closure of Michigan’s restaurants:

“Governor Whitmer’s restaurant shutdown is cruel and to extend it until February 1st imposes an undue hardship on thousands of business owners and employees across our state. Michiganders are tired of the excuses, they are tired of these shutdowns, and they are tired of having their pain and suffering ignored by Governor Whitmer. We can reopen restaurants safely and we must do it now.”