Trade group urges Governor to reopen restaurants

May 8, 2020  PLYMOUTH VOICE.

Plymouth Michigan News


Don Howard

Staff Writer

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA), a trade group representing over 5,000 Michigan foodservice and lodging establishments, has called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to end the restaurant dining room closures on May 29, asserting restaurants should be allowed to reopen upon the expiration of Executive Order 2020-69.

Today the MRLA released a 26-page proposal titled “Roadmap to Reopening,” a step-by-step guide to navigating restaurant reintegration featuring comprehensive guidelines and checklists to put restaurateurs in a position to safely reopen operation, while giving the public confidence they can safely return.

“Knowing that half of all states have already reopened restaurant dining in some capacity, we felt the time was right to share our expertise with the Governor Whitmer so that she has every tool she needs to safely reopen restaurants on May 29,” said MRLA president and CEO Justin Winslow.

On Thursday, the Governor extended the state’s’ stay at home order, noting that Michigan is currently in stage three “flattening,” of the six-stage plan to reopen the economy.

According to MRLA, the states restaurant dining rooms and bars that have been closed since March 16 lost approximately $1.2 billion in sales in April due to the COVID-19 outbreak. MRLA statistics show 249,000 restaurant employees have been furloughed or laid off in Michigan. In a 45-day period between March. 1 and April 16, MLRA reports 55-percent of Michigan restaurants temporarily (53%) or permanently (2%) closed for business. The association said there were 17,557 registered eating and drinking establishments in the state in 2019.

The association that represents an industry that employees more than 595,000 people said the proposal is not legal advice but documentation based on combined guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Federal Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

Included in the Roadmap to Reopening for Michigan Restaurateurs, are health and safety guidelines, recommended operational and safety protocols for customer and employees, and tips for building consumer confidence.

There are 8 checklists in the MRLA Roadmap to Reopening publication that collectively address all aspects of back and front of the house restaurant operations:

-Expand and establish cleaning procedures
– Develop a COVID-19 response team, customized for small restaurants and large chains
– Employee health and PPE requirements
– Customer health and social distancing
– Managing food pick-up and delivery
– Verify third parties, guidance for working with vendors and suppliers
– Reopening water systems for safe consumption and use
– Menu and the supply chain

“Michigan Restaurants have been decimated since their forced closure on March 16,” added Winslow.

“Those that remain in business stand ready to meet or exceed the challenging, but necessary new standard procedures that will keep their guests and team members safe. These restaurateurs are Michiganders who need to be afforded that opportunity before it is too late.”


Plymouth Voice.

Photo: © Don Howard / Associated Newspapers


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