As expected, Michigan is re-closing restaurant dining rooms and suspending indoor bar service in a stab at slowing coronavirus infection rates. The suspension will start on Wednesday and run for at least three weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday.
The state is the fifth to halt dine-in restaurant service in recent days, following Washington, New Mexico, Oregon and Illinois. Michigan will allow outdoor dining, takeout and delivery to continue. New Mexico and Oregon have banned all on-premise service, including patio seating.
Other areas are taking steps to lessen the risk of exposing restaurant guests and employees to coronavirus, but are stopping short, at least for now, of re-shutting indoor restaurant seating areas. North Dakota, for instance, lowered its capacity cap on indoor dining to 50% of total interior seating. New York imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on dine-in service as of last Friday.
Whitmer said Michigan is reshutting dining rooms now because of a runaway increase in COVID-19 casualties. Since the pandemic was declared in March, Michigan has lost a total of just under 8,000 people, according to the governor. “A leading model shows that if we don’t take aggressive action light now, we could see 1,000 deaths per week in Michigan,” she said.
The Democrat implored the White House and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to collaborate rapidly on a new aid package to save small businesses such as restaurants. “This stimulus is critical for our families and good for our economies,” Whitmer said. “They did it once and it worked. Now we need help again.”