Andiamo owner writes letter urging Michigan restaurants to defy shutdown orders, reopen

‘We need to band together and fight this closure.’

A restaurant.
A restaurant.

The owner of Andiamo wrote a letter to Michigan restaurants urging them to defy Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state health department’s COVID-19 shutdown orders and reopen.

UPDATE: Andiamo owner backtracks: ‘We have never and will never defy mandated orders’

Joe Vicari called on fellow restauranteurs to join Andiamo in reopening Dec. 9 if Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extend the current three-week “pause.”

As part of the restrictions in the most recent COVID-19 safety order, restaurants are limited to carry-out and outdoor dining.

“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.”

READ: 14 changes in effect under Michigan’s new COVID-19 restrictions

In the letter, Vicari cites a Michigan Lodging and Restaurant Association statistic that claims only around 4% of COVID-19 cases in the state can be traced back to restaurants. Michigan health officials have said it’s extremely difficult to contact trace outbreaks in restaurants because of the short duration a patron may spend inside.

“Yet, she decided to close restaurants, again,” the letter says. “The malls are packed with holiday shopping, hair salons and gyms can remain open, yet our restaurants are closed.”

The MLRA is going in front of a federal judge Monday (Nov. 30) to try to overturn the state’s restrictions against restaurants. If those efforts are unsuccessful, and the shutdown is extended, Andiamo will reopen Dec. 9, Vicari said.

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

“Our industry cannot survive another extended closure,” he wrote. “Thousands of restaurants and tens of thousand of our employees cannot survive it either. We need to band together and fight back, but we need to do this as a United Group of Michigan Restaurant Owners.”

You can read the full letter below.

Dear fellow restauranteurs:

As we are all aware, last Sunday, Gov. Whitmer issued a three-week “pause”. That “pause” is due to expire on Dec. 8. The Michigan Lodging and Restaurant Association will be in front of a Federal Judge on Nov. 30 in an effort to overturn the Health Department’s ruling.

If they are unsuccessful in doing this, we need to TAKE ACTION! As the leading restauranteurs in the state of Michigan, we need to band together and fight this closure. Our industry cannot survive another long-term closure. We are stronger if we stand together and use our strength of fight back.

The data from the MLRA shows that just over 4% of COVID cases can be traced back to restaurants, and yet, 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.

If the MLRA is unsuccessful in overturning the decision, we anticipate the governor will make an announcement to extend her “pause” through the end of the year, on Sunday, Dec. 6. On Monday, Dec. 7, we will hold a collective press conference, with every local station and possibly national coverage, to announce that as a powerful, collective group, we will be reopening our restaurants on Dec. 9.

Our industry cannot survive another extended closure. Thousands of restaurants and tens of thousand of our employees cannot survive it either. We need to band together and FIGHT BACK, but we need to do this as a United Group of Michigan Restaurant Owners.

If you are interested in being part of the United Group of Michigan Restaurant Owners, please join us on Dec. 3 at 1:00 at Andiamo Banquet Center on 14 Mile and Van Dyke for an informational meeting.

Together, we can stand together to reopen our restaurants. For more information or to confirm your attendance on Dec. 3, please reach out to Rosalie Vicari at rovicari@vicarirestaurants or 586-770-1187.

Thank you, and we looked for to uniting on Dec. 3. We are only strong if we stand together!

Joe Vicari


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