GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan restaurants want less talk and more action when it comes to loosening restaurant restrictions.
Michigan Restaurant Lodging Association President Justin Winslow is pushing for capacity limits to be increased to 50% and the 10 p.m. curfew to be eliminated within in the next week.
This push comes after MRLA earlier this week proposed tying indoor capacity limits to the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive. The association says clear guideposts would help the hospitality industry reopen and navigate the pandemic.
Winslow said they’ve been in talks with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services about their proposal.
“MDHHS likes the substance of the plan and are reviewing it now, but again we’d like to see some action in this coming week,” Winslow said.
Throughout the pandemic, Whitmer has opposed creating coronavirus metrics for when restrictions change.
Whitmer appeared on News 8 Friday for a live interview, where she was asked whether the recent downward trend in COVID-19 numbers statewide might lead to some loosening of restrictions.
Q: … any chance there may be loosening some restrictions for restaurants since we are headed in the right direction?
A: We made a change, we opened up to 25%, we’ve engaged some other things. We’ve got to watch the numbers; it takes two to three weeks before you see an increased activity and the numbers turnout in positives in terms of testing. But right now, we’ boast one of the lowest positivity rates in the nation. We’ve inoculated (or) we’ve put over 1.7 million shots in arms to date. So those numbers are all in the right direction, so it is my hope in the coming days or weeks that we can take another step forward, but we’ve got to watch the data.
Winslow said he was disappointed and frustrated by Whitmer’s response.
“It’s devastating to (restaurants) because they can’t really make it at 25% and they need some good news soon,” he said.
Winslow is continuing his push for the state to adopt their proposed plan or something similar.
“If it’s not our plan, show us some numbers that you think make sense for you for how we move forward,” Winslow said. “We are entering a new phase in this virus and we need to be prepared for how and when we fully reintegrate this industry.”