‘Excited’: After 15 months, full capacity allowed Michigan restaurants

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Restaurant managers hailed the Tuesday expiration of the state’s broadest coronavirus mitigation measures with happiness.

“Hallelujah,” Ciara Taylor, the general manager of Donkey Taqueria in Grand Rapids, said. “I had a moment this morning where I took a breath and I still can’t believe that we made it.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Gatherings and Face Mask order lifted Tuesday. That means that for the first time in about 15 months, restaurants may again operate at 100% capacity and don’t have to make their patrons wear masks — though businesses may still choose to require them.

Workers also aren’t ordered by state mandate to wear masks anymore after the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration pulled back its rules for most workplaces except health care settings.

At Donkey Taqueria, staff members have taken down ‘mask required’ signs.

“No more having to say no all the time and restrictions,” Taylor said. “We’re excited just to see faces, smiling faces, and touch people and hug people again.”

Across the street at The Winchester, assistant general manager Grant Phillips was excited to see his regulars return.

But many restaurants say that even though they’re allowed to return to full capacity, they just don’t have the staff to make it happen. Managers are looking to hire.

“We probably won’t go back to 100% capacity until the fall,” Phillips said. “Our priority is to make sure we are always giving that level and quality of service that we are known for.”

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