Michigan restaurants and COVID survey results: What our membership thinks

Here are results from February 2021 membership survey

Empty Michigan restaurant in February 2021
Empty Michigan restaurant in February 2021

The following are results from an online survey open to ClickOnDetroit Insider members.

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Qualitative responses

Question: Do you believe it is safe for restaurants to resume indoor dining in Michigan? Why or why not?

“No. There is no way it is safe to take off a mask in an inclosed space, then eat and drink.”

“Yes. Because it’s time to get back to life.”

“No. I don’t trust other people to follow the rules.”

“Yes. Spacing works. Humans need interaction. Workers need to work.”

“No. The virus is still here.”

“No. I don’t believe they will actually distance people enough and adhere to the 25% capacity.”

“Yes. They are doing a great job of keeping us safe -- safer than the grocery stores or airports -- so why not let them try to make a living?”

“Yes. Actually, I am not sure, but I want to give the benefit of the doubt to a struggling industry.”

“No. Not enough vaccine and too many variants.”


Question: Will you be going back to indoor dining at restaurants now that they are allowed to reopen? Why or why not?

“No. It’s not safe!”

“No. Being in a space with no masks isn’t safe yet.”

“Yes. It’s safe if you’re smart.”

“No. I don’t want to wear a mask when I’m not eating. As much as I want to go out to eat, I’m just not comfortable yet.”

“Yes. Because they are taking precautions.”

“Yes. We need to help our economy stay afloat!”

“No. I don’t want to put myself in a questionable situation.”

“No. I’m waiting until I have the vaccine. I may trust the restaurants to provide best protocol, but I do not trust the other patrons.”

“No. My 11-year-old just recovered from coronavirus. It was horrible. Not worth the risk.”

“No. I’m trying to limit the spread of COVID.”

“No. My husband has medical issues that make him very high risk. I’m not willing to expose him when people are too willfully ignorant to follow the mask mandates and other COVID safety guidelines.”

“No. It’s not worth it, risking your life and health (and those close to you) over a single meal.”


Question: Do you think Michigan’s government and health officials have done a good job of handling restaurants amid the pandemic? Why or why not?

“Yes. They’ve tried to keep people safe from outbreaks.”

“Yes. (Whitmer) has followed the science and cared about the people of this state.”

“Yes. They are more concerned with our health than money.”

“No. It is no worse than going to a mall, or grocery shopping -- government went beyond its authority.”

“Yes. It was important to limit high risk environments. I am sad that restaurant owners and workers have suffered so badly because of it.”

“Yes. They are trying to protect us and slow the spread. It sucks for those that work in restaurants though -- they have a tough job.”

“No. There should have been more assistance.”

“Yes. It’s not easy balancing public health and financial health of private/for profit businesses!”

“No. They overreacted.”

“No. It’s never a good job when 3,000 restaurants go out of business permanently.”

“No. While some restaurants are thriving with take-out, many are losing money, laying off workers and just trying to stay above water. I don’t think the government is giving them enough money while require them to shut down. If they have to shut down there should be more of a financial compensation from the state.”

“Yes. I think our governor is being cautious and I think that is a good thing. I’d rather be alive.”

“Yes. They put public safety as priority. I do feel bad for restaurant owners and workers. They need government help.”

“Yes. Cases are going down, they have done what is in the best interest of the health of the citizens, even if it was unpopular. As a result, we are in a better place, at the moment, anyway. Hopefully people continue to wear a mask, and the numbers continue to go down.”

“Yes. Health officials know how the virus spreads in poorly ventilated areas. This was a known fact in March 2020.”

“Yes. Places where the virus are most likely to spread need to stay closed.”

“Yes. I do feel that our Governor and our health officials do have our best interest in mind. Sometimes I wish there was more transparency in their decisions.”

“No. They exceeded proper role of government with oppressive orders, often they made no sense.”

“Yes. Excellent job in saving lives -- case counts would have been much higher.”

“Yes. They’ve done as well as possible facing the impossible task of balancing health needs, economic reality and political pressures.”


Open-ended responses -- Tell us anything else you’d like to say on the topic:

I think Whitmer has done a fine job, overall. She’s tried to mitigate spread, saving lives. We’ll get through this.”

“Now that most nursing homes are vaccinated, some visiting restrictions need to be lifted so we can visit our loved ones in a safe manner.”

“Our Governor and her team destroyed our economy and the created so much anxiety and depression.”

“I think mask wearing should be more strongly enforced in public places, such as stores.”

“People think we are in the clear. We are not. We need to continue to be on guard.”

“If everyone followed the guidelines from day 1, we’d likely be out of the pandemic already.”

“I support our governor’s efforts to keep us safe and put lives over politics. Disappointed that Congress didn’t provide the aid needed to keep us home until the vaccine kicks in”

“I am sympathetic to the restaurant owners and their employees. I can’t even imagine how hard this pandemic has been on them. Having said that, the state has done what needed to be done in order to get this virus under control.”

“I really wish that this could be an issue that was less political.”

“It’s difficult to understand why people are so adamant on not following simple public health guidelines in the middle of a pandemic.”

“The power assumed by Gretchen Whitmer is more than troubling. That much power should never rest in one person’s hands. At least not in a free country.”

“Government overreach has been scary. Government should have no place in telling me how to live my life. Their ability to destroy the livelihood of businesses is criminal. Nearly every elected official that played a role in the response to the pandemic should be recalled and out of a job.”

“I’m tired of the Republican legislature not offering any alternatives, just saying ‘no’ is not productive.”

“We just need vaccine distribution to be coordinated so we can feel safe to go back to restaurants!”

“Most of the world has done a terrible job with the pandemic because it was believed that the economy had to be maintained during the pandemic. Three weeks of everyone staying home (except hospitals and the most crucial needs) and this would have been over in a month.”

“They need to get the vaccine distribution under control.”

“The founding fathers thought those in the heartland were too ignorant for democracy but could at least recognize who should represent them in a republic. I think they have now been proven overly optimistic.”

“I agree with most of the ways Michigan responds to COVID, but certain things do not make sense like sports (could go to casino, but not church, allowing restaurant workers to get vaccines ahead of college students, etc.).”


Thank you for taking part in the survey! 🙏

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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.