LANSING, Mich. – Almost a month after they were allowed to resume in-person dining, Michigan restaurants want to increase capacity to 50%. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hinted at re-engaging more of the state’s economy soon, but will restaurants be included?
Right now, restaurants are under a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order that limits them to 25% capacity on indoor dining and establishes a 10 p.m. curfew, among other COVID-19 safety guidelines.
That order was put into effect Feb. 1 and is set to last until March 29, for now.
But on Wednesday, Whitmer said the state is considering reopening further because COVID-19 metrics have continued to improve.
“We’re expecting to make more announcements on additional re-engagements in the coming days,” Whitmer said. “Our case numbers and public health metrics are trending in the right direction, and we’re very pleased to see that.”
Does that include restaurants?
Whitmer said she has heard from restaurant owners who want to increase capacity to 50% because they think that it can be done safely.
“I’m hopeful that eventually we get to that point,” Whitmer said. “But at this juncture, we’ve been at it just a couple of weeks. We’ve got to keep watching the data. We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got antigen tests that are available.”
So while changes appear to be coming, it doesn’t sound like restaurants will be included. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Michigan has moved slowly with the restaurant industry, citing the inherent risk of bringing people from different households into a situation that requires removing masks.