LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and other state officials on Monday issued statements praising bar and restaurant owners for their ongoing compliance with the state’s emergency health orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indoor dining and gatherings are strictly prohibited under the current restrictions.
“Our bar and restaurant owners have made incredible sacrifices over the past 10 months to keep their communities safe and slow the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “My administration has been working hard to secure crucial support for these businesses. I was proud to, among other things, negotiate with the legislature to sign a bipartisan supplemental budget that provides support for small business owners like these.”
Whitmer’s financial relief efforts for bar and restaurant owners began last April when she authorized a spirits buyback program for on-premises liquor licensees whose business were affected by the pandemic.
More than $3.3 million in financial relief went to 670 bar and restaurant owners across the state – averaging $5,000 for hospitality businesses.
She recently announced a second liquor buyback that is in the works.
In June, Whitmer signed legislation allowing bars and restaurants to sell cocktails and alcoholic drinks to-go for the first time in Michigan and expanded bars’ seating capacity in outdoor social districts.
Nessel also praised the state’s bar and restaurant owners.
“I applaud every business owner in Michigan who has stepped up, braced themselves for the storm and complied with Michigan’s public health emergency orders,” Nessel said. “This pandemic has brought them to their knees, but the vast majority of them have worked hard to stay open during the worst of times. Their creativity, innovation and sheer fortitude have set the gold standard for the rest of us.”
The state attorney general’s office has been working with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to enforce the restrictions.
Thirty-two establishments have had their liquor licenses suspended for public health order violations since last September.