What Michigan restaurants can do to make sure masks are worn

Gov. Whitmer strengthened mask regulations July 17

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – If you’ve been to a restaurant recently, you’ve seen fewer tables to accommodate social distancing and signs requiring patrons to wear masks -- but what do restaurant owners do if a guest doesn’t want to wear one?

“There’s always going to be a challenge as someone that wants something beyond your capabilities,” said David Krause. “But it goes back to hospitality. We’re in this industry because we like doing things for others.”

Krause owns Adachi, located on Old Woodward Avenue in Birmingham. Like every other restaurant owner in Michigan, him and his staff have to ensure guests are wearing masks.

“I find that I’ve spoken to certain guests, and they tell me ‘This is like the second time I’ve been out in public since, since really this all started,' and so when they get up, they don’t remember to wear the mask,” Krause said. “If that is the case, then someone will alert me and I will walk up to the guests and just simply say ‘Sir or miss, can you please put your mask back on?‘”

For the guests that refuse to wear a mask, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association held a Zoom meeting on de-escalation tactics hosted by a former police officer.

“Stay calm, that’s the first the thing. You must demonstrate non-threatening body language,” said John Harris, with JCH Security. “Avoid crossing yours arms or put you hands on hips, so you can model the appropriate behavior you want this person to model.”

Other tips include reminding guests it’s a state mandate, not taking their frustrations to heart and letting an angry customer leave with some pride.

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“You want to keep this semi-private, so he’s not embarrassed and the rest of your customers aren’t upset,” Harris said. “Do not position yourself between the customer and the door and give them plenty of space.”

Krause said it all comes down to compassion.

“I’m empathetic to the fact that something is upsetting them and let’s find a common space where where we can make you happy,” Krause said. “And you can make me happy by putting your mask on.”

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