Michigan restaurants want to re-open on May 29

Posted at 5:13 PM, May 08, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan restaurants are lobbying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state to let them re-open dine-in service on May 29.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) released today its "Roadmap to Reopening," according to the association today.

The 26-page guide features guidelines and checklists to help restaurants safely re-open and to give customers "confidence they can safely return to their favorite restaurants."

MRLA shared the "Roadmap to Reopening" with Whitmer, so she and her administration can give restaurants "the necessary processes and procedures to safely re-open."

The over 5,000-member association said it "re-affirms its position" that restaurants should be allowed to re-open on May 29, after the latest stay-at-home executive order, No. 2020-69, expires.

“Knowing that half of all states have already re-opened restaurant dining in some capacity, we felt the time was right to share our expertise with Governor Whitmer, so that she has every tool she needs to safely re-open restaurants on May 29,” said Justin Winslow, president and CEO, Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association.

The guide contains eight checklists that 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 pickup and delivery
— Verify third parties, guidance for working with vendors and suppliers
— Re-opening water systems for safe consumption and use
— Menu and the supply chain

MRLA said the "Roadmap to Reopening" incorporates guidelines and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency, as well as "insight" from Whitmer's executive orders and the Michigan Economic Recovery Committee's protocols.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, 249,000 restaurant employees have been furloughed or laid off in Michigan, according to the MRLA.

Between March 1 and April 16, 55% of Michigan restaurants temporarily (53%) or permanently (2%) closed. There are 17,557 eating and drinking locations in Michigan in 2019, MRLA said.

“Michigan restaurants have been decimated since their forced closure on March 16,” Winslow said. “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.”