A Michigan state representative wants to honor an industry hard hit by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdowns.
As the Democrat governor’s latest three-week “pause” comes to an end on January 15, barring any extensions or new orders issued, Republican lawmaker John Damoose of the Michigan House of Representatives is proposing legislation to celebrate the reopening of Michigan restaurants.
Michigan restaurants in the state are expected to resume full operations with residents being allowed to dine indoors as Whitmer’s latest measure comes to an end. Damoose is responding by calling for January 16th to be declared as Restaurant Dine-In Day across the state.
“Our restaurants and their hardworking employees have suffered greatly over the past year. Michigan House Republicans want to do all we can to help them get off to a great start in 2021,” the Harbor Springs Republican, representing Michigan’s 107th District, said in a press release.
“We encourage everyone in our state to safely dine in Jan. 16th and celebrate the reopening of their favorite restaurant.”
According to the Michigan House Republicans website, the state has about 16,500 food establishments that employ more than 447,000 people.
“Restaurants have worked hard to implement best practices for safety – please follow them when you visit,” Damoose said. “Let’s celebrate our restaurants, and let them know we support them and everything they do for our communities.”
Whitmer announced new restrictions in the state back in November as cases of the coronavirus began to spike. High schools, colleges, indoor dining, casinos and movie theaters were ordered closed by the Democrat who also ordered a statewide mask mandate.
The “Dine-In Day” resolution to celebrate the end of Whitmer’s three-week emergency has gotten the support of others in the local government as well, with State Rep. Ken Borton calling out the governor’s “burdensome” restrictions in remarks on Monday.
“In communities throughout Northern Michigan, Main Street has been hurt immensely by the governor’s burdensome orders,” Borton said.
“This measure encourages people to dine in where it can be done safely once the orders expire. Livelihoods depend on the resumption of these services. Restaurants have been pushed to the brink through no fault of their own. Many have gone under and many more are struggling to get by,” he added.
“It is unfair that the governor has not given these small business owners a way to resume these services safely. It has been an endless and frustrating wait,” Borton said.
“They are shouldering an incredible burden while other big box stores remain open without any issue. I support this resolution and I will continue to stand up for hardworking people in our communities who are simply trying to make a living in unprecedented times,” the Republican added.
In a news conference held last Friday, Whitmer warned that bars and restaurants may not be opening back up after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s restriction ends on January 15. The Democrat noted that health officials would have to determine safety considering a supposed COVID-19 variant as well as data coming in from holiday travels.
“The studies have shown that restaurants and bars are places where we see many outbreaks,” she said. “Our tracing capabilities are underwhelming in that front and so I think that’s part of the data issue [for ongoing outbreaks] that we haven’t seen translate and that’s why we have continued the [ban on indoor dining] policy. We know that the pause is working. We look at where the numbers are.”
“This variant is giving us pause and we want to watch and make sure we’ve got as many days’ worth of data post-holiday so we recognize whether or not this blip beyond the holidays is a trend or if it’s just that, a blip,” she added. “There’s some encouraging signs but we have to be really smart and we’re going to continue to watch the data.”
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