LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded Tuesday to restaurant owners who are considering defying state COVID-19 regulations and reopening for indoor dining if the order is extended beyond three weeks.
On Monday, the owner of Andiamo wrote a letter urging restaurants to unify and reopen if Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extend the ban on indoor dining past the original expiration date of Dec. 8.
“We need to band together and fight this closure,” Vicari wrote. “Our industry cannot survive another long-term closure. We are stronger if we stand together and use our strength of fight back.”
“She decided to close restaurants, again. The malls are packed with holiday shopping, hair salons and gyms can remain open, yet our restaurants are closed.”
On Tuesday, Whitmer was asked about restaurant owners talking about defying the state order.
Here’s what she said in response to the question:
“You know, let me just say this: I understand the frustration. I understand the fear. None of these decisions that have had to be made over the last 10 months has been easy. Every single one of them has weighed heavily on me, on all of us.
“And yet, we know that this virus has taken the lives of over 9,000 people in Michigan. When Sept. 11 happened, the whole world stopped. We helped one another. We saw the humanity in one another and we stepped into do our part. We forever changed the way that we live and how we travel, because that’s how we keep one another safe.
“We’ve had over three, 9-11s here in Michigan in the last 10 months. It’s devastated families. So many of us know someone who’s died or is struggling with COVID-19 or struggling with COVID-19 months after they’ve had it. This is still a very real threat to all of us.
“I want these restaurants to succeed. I want to do everything in my power to help them through these tough times. That’s why I’ve asked our legislature to get this $100 million plan passed. That’s why I’ve been asking our federal government to take some action, but since they haven’t, I’m hoping that our legislature will work with me on this to give some relief to these restaurants.
“I don’t want them to have to make tough, awful decisions that could jeopardize their workforce and their customers, because I want them to be successful and I know they need help, and I’m trying to give that help.
“I would discourage people from willfully breaking the law, always -- no matter what the law is on any subject. I would strongly discourage that. But I think in this moment, we need to give one another a little empathy and a little bit of grace and recognize the gravity of the situation.”