Governor Whitmer Extends Restaurant Shutdown
Struggling restaurants across Michigan will just have to try and hang on for at least two more weeks, as Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has again extended Michigan’s Restaurant Ban. The state’s epidemic order only allows outdoor dining, carry-out, and delivery.
Governor Whitmer said, “The working plan is to open indoor dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits, and a curfew on February 1, but the ultimate decision depends on data continuing to stabilize.” Additional details on the reopening pathway are expected next week.
The governor announced relaxed restrictions to allow indoor group exercise and non-contact sports, but masks are required.
Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. Colleges and universities can have students return to campus for the winter semester and restart in-person courses as of Jan. 18.
The Majority Leader of the Michigan Senate, Mike Shirkey tweeted in response to the continuation of the ban on indoor dining, “I’m dismayed by Governor Whitmer’s continued closure of local businesses. This is another display of the tone-deaf response we continue to hear from the Governor. Overreach by the Governor has crippled an entire industry and peripheral supply chain businesses.”
Michigan State Senator Jim Starnes has proposed that the legislature block all of Whitmer’s appointees until the COVID restrictions have been lifted.
In the face of the extended shutdown, several groups in the state have said “Enough!” The Michigan Conservative Union (MCU) said, “Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s frivolous ban on in-person dining has all but destroyed the restaurant business in Michigan. Back in November, she sidestepped a Michigan Supreme Court ruling and used the Department of Health and Human Services to ban indoor dining. She has since extended the ban twice as our feckless state legislators timidly looked on.”
They called for Michiganders to defy the order. “It is time to stand up, Michigan! MCU urges restaurants to open for in-person dining on January 15, the end of the current ban—and stay open even if it is extended!”
MCU is establishing a crowd-sourcing page to pay any Michigan Health and Human Services-imposed fines directly resulting from defying these frivolous bans. They say they will draw from the funds raised to reimburse Michigan restaurants so penalized on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funds last.
The restaurant ban was set to expire on Friday, prompting State Rep. John Damoose to declare Saturday at Restaurant Dine-In Day.
Café Rosetta owner Amy Heikkinen plans to welcome Michiganders into her Calumet area restaurant this Saturday. Heikkinen was forced into a court battle she never asked for after being targeted by local health officials, forcing her to raise money for legal bills. Her food license has been revoked, and she’s been ordered to cease operations by a circuit court that is 500 miles away from Café Rosetta.