Arguing “Enough is enough,” Watervliet State Representative Pauline Wendzel says, “Michigan restaurants must be allowed to resume in-person dining,” and her colleague from Mattawan, Beth Griffin is echoing that cry.
Wendzel this morning released the following statement regarding Southwest Michigan’s struggling restaurant industry:
“We’re distributing a safe and effective vaccine, and our COVID numbers have drastically fallen. Governor Whitmer needs to immediately lift restrictions on our struggling restaurants and allow them to resume in-person dining.
“In Berrien County, our community showed its resilience by rallying to support our local restaurants. So many people took part in the Berrien County Takeout Challenge, and that may have been just enough to stave off some closings. Some of our restaurant owners that are struggling to survive have invested their life savings into their businesses. They care deeply about their employees, our community and doing their part to stop the spread of this virus. They deserve a fighting chance.
“I’m calling on Governor Whitmer to give them a seat at the table. Allow them to open and allow them to meet with Director Gordon and the MDHHS to develop ways to operate safely. Our neighboring states allow in-person dining and have figured out how to do it safely. I’m confident that if we all work together, we can figure this out and give these staples of our community a fighting chance.”
Meanwhile, State Rep. Beth Griffin of Mattawan joined the called for Gov. Whitmer to allow Michigan restaurants to resume indoor dining.
The Whitmer administration banned indoor dining through an order issued November 18th, saying the ‘pause’ would last three weeks. The order already has been extended twice, and it’s now scheduled to run through January 15th.
Griffin says the governor must not further extend the restriction, arguing, “The governor may have forgotten about our restaurant workers, and their families, who are suffering because of her COVID-19 orders – but I have not forgotten.” Griffin adds, “I hear from them about their suffering every single day, and I am fighting on their behalf for a common-sense solution. These restrictions on their ability to safely earn a living must end.”
Griffin goes on to say, “The restaurant industry knows how to operate safely with proper protocols in place for employees and customers. They must be allowed to do so.”
Griffin said the ban on in-person dining worsens an already bleak economy hammered by the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Griffin said her House district – covering parts of Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties – still has more than 200 unresolved Unemployment Insurance Agency claims from people who can’t get the benefits they need and deserve. That is in addition to those who are receiving benefits.
Griffin concludes, “Every single one of these claims represents a real person – a mom or a dad trying to feed their families, under extreme stress due to the governor’s COVID restrictions. Each day the ban on in-person dining is in place adds to the state’s economic struggles, and puts more and more families on the financial brink. I will continue to fight for them as the state weathers COVID-19.”