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Michigan officials' advice on indoor dining puts restaurants in tougher spot

Customers encouraged not to dine indoors, choose takeout instead

WATERFORD, Mich. – When Michigan’s chief medical executive offered new advice for restaurant customers on Wednesday, it came as a surprise -- especially for restaurant owners.

As COVID-19 cases begin to rise rapidly throughout Michigan, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun encouraged people to significantly limit how -- and with whom -- they dine out.

“Limit indoor dining with anyone who’s not in your own household. And if you choose to dine indoors, keep your mask on at all times except when you’re actually putting food in your mouth and limit your talking. Talking without a mask on increases the risk of spread," Khaldun said during a press conference Wednesday. "If you have a choice between dining in a restaurant or getting takeout, strongly consider getting takeout.”

Some restaurants have shown concern over Khaldun’s advice, especially those who are already seeing fewer customers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been a tough year here at Copperstone’s Family Dining,” said Joe Skreli, owner of Copperstone’s. “When the state closed down back in March, this restaurant closed for five months. When the state started to open back up, they??? were ecstatic here.”

Skreli says that they were just happen to reopen when they had the opportunity, even though the bar is closed. The restaurant has signs telling customers to stay socially distanced, and they put tables outside for outdoor dining.

Partially reopening, though, left Copperstone’s to struggle financially.

Dr. Khaldun is looking to limit indoor restaurant dining after a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that individuals who dine in are more likely to contract COVID-19. As Michigan’s numbers are on the rise -- and threatening to turn into a second, and perhaps deadly, wave -- officials are hoping to slow virus spread.

Restaurant owners are worried that another statewide shutdown could potentially damage their business irreparably, but are hopeful that another shutdown won’t be necessary -- and that customers will continue social distancing.


Related: Gov. Whitmer on possibility of another Michigan shutdown: ‘We’re at a dangerous moment’


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