Detroit restaurant plans for outdoor dining in response to new COVID restrictions

Indoor dining not allowed for at least 3 weeks in Michigan under new order

Three-week shutdown became effective Wednesday, banning indoor dining.

DETROIT – In response to a newly-issued three-week shutdown, many Michigan restaurants are adding outdoor dining options to keep business flowing while meeting new statewide restrictions.

On Wednesday, new coronavirus restrictions issued by the state health department go into effect due to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases and increased virus spread throughout Michigan. Under the new restrictions, restaurants and bars can no longer offer indoor dining services until at least December 8. Carry-out and outdoor dining options are still allowed.

Read more: MDHHS announces stricter COVID-19 rules for Michigan restaurants, high schools, colleges, remote working

Instead of just relying on carry-outs -- as most restaurants did during the first statewide shutdown earlier this year -- some businesses are planning to also offer options to eat outdoors.

Corktown restaurant Cork and Gabel is one of them, working to enclose their patio and ensure it is heated as winter settles in. Matthew McGrail with Cork and Gabel says the food there is one of a kind, and it’s best experienced while dining in.

“We are not really known for take out,” McGrail said.

Since the restaurant makes most of their money from dine-in customers, Cork and Gabel hopes to have its outdoor patio available for customers in a week or two amid the shutdown.

McGrail says that the business is taking steps to follow the state’s new COVID restrictions carefully to protect their business and the health of their employees and families.

“We want to do the right thing,” McGrail said.

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Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.