Group Urges Action, Including Winterizing Patios, As 4,000 MI Restaurants Predict Closure

WWJ News
September 15, 2020 - 9:13 am
COVID-19 restaurant


(WWJ) A state association is warning that thousands of restaurants and hotels are still at risk of closing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and they're begging the state to take measures to make dining out hospitable as the weather gets frosty. 

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, which represents more than 5,000 businesses, released new economic impact data that shows approximately 4,000 restaurant owners say it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now.  A majority say costs have increased due to buying personal protection equipment and other safety measures. 

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They're asking for the ability to winterize the extra patio spaces many restaurants were granted across metro Detroit this summer, plus expanded indoor capacity, extra training for workers and the restoration of the Pure Michigan marketing campaign to encourage travel to the Mitten State. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer slashed the $36 million campaign in her 2019 budget. 

If plans aren't made to keep restaurants and hotels running in the winter, it's bad news for business owners and for those who work in the service industry, the MRLA said. 

The restaurants they surveyed said they have been using about 33% fewer workers than during a normal year. In addition, the association says nearly two-thirds of hotels remain below 50% occupancy.