Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced on Friday that she is finally relaxing her infamous restaurant restrictions just two days after the inauguration of Joe Biden.
After returning to Michigan from Washington D.C., where she attended the inauguration, Whitmer revealed that restaurants in her state will be permitted to reopen for in-person dining on February 1, according to Detroit News.
“The pause has worked,” Whitmer said, referring to what she had claimed would be a “three week pause” that she announced 13 weeks ago in November.
“The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives,” she added. “Now, we are confident that starting Feb. 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place.”
Beginning at the start of next month, restaurants in Michigan will be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity and stadiums can seat up to 500 people, according to Fox 2. Restaurants and bars will also need to close in the state by 10pm, and Whitmer’s latest order okays “the sale and consumption of concessions at restaurants, casinos, movie theaters, and stadiums. It also maintains non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households.”
Whitmer’s new order will be in effect until February 21, and Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association President Justin Winslow has already released a statement saying that it is “overdue news.”
“We welcome the governor’s decision to reopen restaurant dining on February 1 as good, if overdue news,” Winslow said. “It is now time for this administration to move aggressively towards a more comprehensive reintegration strategy, which includes prioritizing vaccination for the broader hospitality industry and establishing clear metrics for phased reopening to 100 percent capacity of indoor dining.”
“The hospitality industry and its sizable workforce has suffered far worse than its peers from this pandemic, losing nearly 3,000 restaurants and employing 200,000 fewer workers than a year prior,” he added. “It also stands to gain the most from a proficient and expedited vaccination schedule, which is why we contend that there is no more important step the governor can take to get Michigan’s economy back on track than restoring public confidence in Michiganders ability to safely dine and travel.”
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Whitmer has become infamous in many circles for inflicting some of the strictest restrictions in the nation on the people of her state.