MI Restaurant Industry Rolls Out Roadmap to Reopening, Asks Governor for Reliable Date

Saying that Michigan restaurants should be allowed to re-open for business on Friday, May 29th, after the current Safer at Home order ends on May 28th, the restaurant industry in Michigan has prepared a comprehensive “Roadmap to Reopening,” and shared it with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a bid to convince her to provide a reliable date for the business community.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) this morning has released the Roadmap to Reopening, a veritable step-by-step guide to navigating restaurant reintegration. The document features comprehensive guidelines and checklists to put restaurateurs in a position to safely reopen operations, while at the same time giving the general public confidence that they can safely return to their favorite restaurants.

The MRLA has shared the Roadmap with Gov. Whitmer so that she and her administration can provide restaurants across the state the necessary processes and procedures to safely reopen. The MRLA reaffirms its position that restaurants should be allowed to reopen on May 29th upon the expiration of Executive Order 2020-69.

Justin Winslow, President and CEO of the MRLA, says, “The Roadmap to Reopening is thoughtful and thorough guidance for restaurant operators, incorporating the best practices of several federal agencies, relevant content from existing Executive Orders and innovative recommendations from our involvement in the Michigan Economic Recovery Council.” Winslow adds, “Knowing that half of all states have already reopened restaurant dining in some capacity, we felt the time was right to share our expertise with the Governor so that she has every tool she needs to safely reopen restaurants on May 29.”

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Included in the Roadmap to Reopening for Michigan restaurateurs, which can be viewed at the link below, are health and safety guidelines, recommended operational and safety protocols for customer and employees, and tips for building consumer confidence.

Here’s the link to the Roadmap:


There are 8 checklists in the MRLA Roadmap to Reopening publication that collectively address all aspects of back and front of the house restaurant operations:

  • Expand and establish cleaning procedures
  • Develop a COVID-19 response team, customized for small restaurants and large chains
  • Employee health and PPE requirements
  • Customer health and social distancing
  • Managing food pick-up and delivery
  • Verify third parties, guidance for working with vendors and suppliers
  • Reopening water systems for safe consumption and use
  • Menu and the supply chain

The 26-page booklet incorporates guidelines and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance, Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as insight from Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Orders and the Michigan Economic Recovery Committee’s protocols.

Winslow notes that it is well-documented that the restaurant industry is among the hardest hit by COVID-19, and that there is much to be gained through successfully reopening for business. The restaurant industry, which generated $19B in sales in 2019, lost approximately $1.2B in sales in April 2020 alone.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, 249,000 restaurant employees have been furloughed or laid off in Michigan. Between March 1 and April 16, 55-percent of Michigan restaurants temporarily (53-percent) or permanently (2-percent) closed for business. This represents thousands of businesses based upon a total of 17,557 eating and drinking locations in Michigan in 2019.

Winslow contends, “Michigan Restaurants have been decimated since their forced closure on March 16th,” and adds, “Those that remain in business stand ready to meet or exceed the challenging, but necessary new standard procedures that will keep their guests and team members safe. These restaurateurs are Michiganders who need to be afforded that opportunity before it is too late.”

The MRLA has a comprehensive series of documents, links and advice for restaurants to pepare for reopening in addition to the Roadmap. See those documents at this link:


Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) is the recognized leader of Michigan’s hospitality industry, providing essential services to the foodservice and lodging community. Founded in 1921 as the Michigan Restaurant Association and now known as the MRLA, the Association represents over 5,000 Michigan foodservice and lodging establishments. The industry plays an integral role in Michigan’s economy, employing nearly 600,000 people and creating $40 billion in annual revenue. For more information, visit online at www.mrla.org.