GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. – While Metro Detroit restaurant owners are encouraging businesses to open their restaurants, contrary to Michigan’s latest COVID order, others are supporting nationwide closures that are slowing the spread of viruses.
New coronavirus restrictions came into effect in Michigan on Nov. 17, which, among other restrictions, prohibit restaurants and bars from offering indoor dining services until Dec. 8. Andiamo owner Joe Vicari wrote in a letter calling on Michigan restaurants to confront Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the State Department of Health and reopen if new orders are extended on Dec. 8.
Read: Andiamo owners call on Michigan restaurants to reject shutdown order and reopen if “3-week break” is extended
However, some restaurants disagree with Vicari and his call to reopen amid coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the state.
Vanessa Gonzalez, owner of Grosse Pointe Woods restaurant, Garrido’s Bistro, says she would rather stay closed than reopen the spread of the virus too early.
Gonzalez said as soon as he saw Vicari’s letter, he was forced to respond as a restaurant owner.
“It doesn’t represent my voice,” Gonzalez said of the letter. “I know other small restaurants aren’t represented by this mindset. I felt we needed to broaden our perspective as well. “
Connected: Michigan doctors urge restaurants to keep customers away from COVID-19 by avoiding the rush to reopen
The owner of the Grosse Pointe Woods restaurant has shown on Facebook that he supports the state’s coronavirus restrictions, even if they negatively impact his business.
“We support the closing order, even if it pushes us out of business,” Gonzalez wrote.
He says staff health and safety is the number one priority.
“They’re at the same high risk as hospital staff – the difference is that hospital staff know they (COVID) work with patients, but our staff don’t,” Gonzalez said.
“I have a server, she’s a single mother with two kids.” What should I tell their children if something happened to him because of it? What should I say to the wife of my dishwasher? Gonzalez added.
The Michigan Restaurant and Accommodation Association estimates that 2,000 restaurants have closed permanently due to the epidemic, and as many as six thousand could close in the spring if help doesn’t come soon.
Gonzalez agrees, but he thinks it’s a much bigger picture.
“I think I have a responsibility,” Gonzalez said. – I think we’ll all do it.
The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that many providers have problems with unemployment benefits during restaurant closures. Many of them had already taken advantage of public unemployment weeks in the earlier months of the pandemic, when restaurants first closed.
More: Michigan restaurant owners ask for compromise amid struggle to stay afloat in Lansing
Governor Whitmer is asking for unemployment to be permanently extended in the state, but there is no news that lawmakers are planning anything to do with it. Officials have not yet indicated whether the state’s coronavirus restriction will be extended beyond December 8th.
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