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Michigan's ban on indoor dining has lifted, but some restaurants are keeping doors closed

Long Road Distillers still closed to indoor dining
Long Road Distillers

The state of Michigan allowed restaurants and bars to reopen for indoor dining on Monday, February 1 with capacity restrictions. However, some business owners say reopening isn't worth the financial cost.

Under new state orders, establishments are allowed to offer indoor dining at 25% capacity, serving no more than 100 people. Tables must be spread out six feet apart, and no more than six individuals are allowed at each table. Bars and restaurants must close by 10pm, and contact tracing information must be collected from customers.

Kyle VanStrien, co-owner of Long Road Distillers in West Michigan, will not be reopening his doors for indoor dining, stating the restrictions don't provide his business with the finanical capability it needs.

"Opening today at 25% might work for some establishments who have a larger footprint and lots of tables, but unfortunately for a lot of establishments 25% just simply can’t work, and it’s no fault of the governor's," he explained, "Unfortunately restaurants aren’t infinitely scalable. It’s not like at 25% capacity we can order 25% of our produce, staff 25% of our employees, pay 25% of our rent."

Long Road Distillers will continue to provide its takeout of bottled spirits, cocktail kits and canned cocktails, but VanStrien said he has no immediate plans of reopening for indoor dining. As he awaits the next green light from Michigan health officials, he is asking the public to do their best to support local businesses.

“It's so important that people do whatever they can, spend as much as their able to, remember to tip and remember to go with an extra helping of grace. The folks that are working in the food service industry don’t need the critique and the criticism. They need our support because it’s going to be a long road back to normal,” he said.