Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan has lifted COVID restrictions on several recreational establishments throughout the state. However, those in the restaurant industry will remain out in the cold as Whitmer continues to hand-pick winners and losers. According to the Detroit Free Press, bowling alleys, casinos, bingo halls, and even movie theaters will be allowed to reopen, as they have been deemed “lower-risk recreational facilities” as long as concessions are not offered. In other words, patrons will be unable to remove their masks to consume food or beverages.
Indoor dining is strictly prohibited in the state, which essentially means that restaurants must continue to endure closures due to the impossibility of outdoor dining in the winter in The Great Lake State. With daily high temperatures lingering in the 20s and 30s, having meals outdoors is unreasonable at best and unaffordable at worst, as most struggling restaurants cannot afford to create comfortable outdoor seating for patrons while complying with state restrictions.
Michigan State Senate Republicans expressed their frustration as Whitmer’s restaurant shutdowns have now been extended until January 15, forcing the increasingly collapsing industry to forego the customary profits of a busy holiday season. State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, tweeted, “We’ll get through COVID-19, thanks to improving treatments, people taking personal responsibility and the wonder of vaccines. But there are no treatments to cure lost jobs and no vaccines for bankruptcies.”
Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton tweeted in favor of the resignation of Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, who has determined that any activity requiring the removal of face masks indoors is too risky. Surprisingly, Michigan schools will open their doors as early as Monday, begging the question of how students will have lunch, presumably indoors, while adhering to the mask mandates.
Those in the restaurant industry are growing desperate as shutdowns continue to be pushed back. Sommelier Alexandra Martin told the Detroit Free Press how being laid off from her position at a high-rise steakhouse in Detroit has completely upended her life, stating, “I haven’t been able to afford food to eat, let alone paying for things like rent,” she said. “I’m many months behind on my car payment.” Countless Michiganders have expressed their frustration with Gov. Whitmer’s job-killing lockdowns on Twitter, with some asking her to let them out of their cages.
The tweets are in response to Whitmer’s 12 Days of “Givemas,” where she offers suggestions on helping fellow residents during the holidays. Unfortunately, none of her twelve ideas involve reopening indoor dining.