Restaurant-Bar industry director: 'We are on the verge of collapse'

Organization reacts to 12 day extension of "pause"
Posted at 10:34 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 22:54:36-05

LANSING, Mich. — With Monday’s announcement from Governor Whitmer that the state was extending its “pause,” which includes no in-service dining, for 12 days, FOX 17 spoke with the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, which is based just a block away from the state Capitol in Lansing.

READ MORE: State extends COVID-19 restrictions for 12 more days

“We are so desperate, our members are so desperate, we’ll take anything we can right now, because we are on the verge of collapse," Scott Ellis, the executive director, said. By “take”, Ellis was referring to what the governor reiterated Monday, that the state wants to see struggling businesses receive $100 million in state money.

“I’ve got to give credit where credit is due and thank the governor," Ellis said. "We don’t get along all the time and always agree, but when she gets it and is pushing for $100 million. We’ve been talking to the Senate and House leadership for three weeks now since this shutdown, and they have been very receptive to getting funding directly to the groups that have been shut down. So, you’re talking bars, restaurants, movie theatres, and those places. So we are really encouraged that all three branches are pushing for it, now we're just hoping that all three branches can come to an agreement. And they have to come to an agreement in the next two weeks, because they’re going on break."

Ellis believes his industry is being unfairly blamed for the spread of the virus. “The hospitals are filling up, I can’t argue that, I won’t argue that. I’m not going to argue that this isn’t a serious problem, because it is. But now we're to the point of desperation. We did a survey when this was released on the 18th, and the survey said over 50% of our members replied if they are shut down between one and three months, they’re done forever.“

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With the 12-day extension Monday by the MDHHS, the “pause” is now scheduled to run through Sunday, December 20.