Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, January 22, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced the further loosening of Michigan’s coronavirus restrictions, easing capacity limits in restaurants and a host of other businesses while also allowing for larger indoor and outdoor gatherings.

The revised state health department order will take effect Friday and last through April 19.

Dining room table setting photo
Public Domain Pictures

Michigan restaurants on Wednesday proposed tying indoor capacity limits to the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive, contending that clear guideposts would help the hospitality industry navigate the pandemic.

Bars and restaurants, which reopened for indoor dining and drinking on Feb 1. after a 2 1/2-month ban, have a 10 p.m. curfew and are limited to 25% occupancy, up to a maximum of 100 patrons, under a state health order supported by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. She has opposed linking coronavirus metrics to the automatic loosening or tightening of restrictions.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Nov. 5, 2020 photo
Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will announce Wednesday that Michigan restaurants can reopen for indoor dining on Feb. 1, two-and-a-half months after an order to close amid a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

The governor’s office confirmed the pending announcement following a statement issued on social media by the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association. The current order prohibiting indoor dine-in service is due to expire Friday but will be extended.

Judge with gavel photo
non-licensed

A judge on Friday declined to halt a three-week ban on indoor dining in Michigan that is one of the most recent coronavirus restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

The state health department, meanwhile, reported a new daily high of confirmed COVID-19 cases, 9,779, and 53 additional deaths as the virus continued to spike.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo said a restraining order halting the indoor dining ban wouldn’t be appropriate, especially when the state hasn’t had a chance to respond to the lawsuit.

Dining room table setting photo
Public Domain Pictures

Michigan restaurants and bars are pushing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to let them reopen for dine-in service May 29, three weeks from now. An industry group on Friday released a "roadmap" to reopening, with guidance such as requiring masks for workers and keeping tables and bar stools 6 feet apart. Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, says 20 restaurants a day are permanently going out of business.

  ED of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association President and CEO Justin Winslow joins TMS to discuss how they are remaining steadfast in the efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19.