MI Restaurant & Lodging Association Pushes Back on New Contact Tracing Mandate

Following today’s revision of emergency order rules by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, the advocacy group for Michigan’s hospitality industry is pushing back on one of the major provisions of the changed document — specifically the part about contact tracing.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association President & CEO Justin Winslow, issued a statement in response to the revised emergency orders this afternoon. Here is that statement:

“We appreciate and respect the efforts of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to keep all Michiganders safe as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Michigan. We maintain, however, that a restaurant industry-specific contact tracing mandate lacks merit given existing science and data.  

The COVID-19 outbreak investigation data collected by the MDHHS continues to show minimal transmission from restaurant dining, despite the rising caseloads, representing only about 2% of all cases the state is investigating. In relation to the size and scope of the industry, which serves millions of people every day and employs several hundred thousand more, this well-intended effort is more likely to result in job loss, foreclosure and fewer restaurants than it will prevent transmission.  

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Restaurants across this state have risen to the challenge thrust upon them in 2020, providing a place for people to safely gather, eat a great meal and feel, well, human. We remain confident that if given the opportunity, restaurants will continue to offer this experience in a safer environment than alternatives that are less regulated and less sanitized.” 

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association 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 more than 595,000 people and creating nearly $40 billion in annual sales. For more information, visit: http://www.mrla.org.