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MDHHS provides studies showing heightened risk of COVID-19 related to indoor dining

Restaurant owner doesn’t agree with state extending epidemic order for 12 more days.
Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 1:23 AM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A major blow: bars and restaurants must remain closed for dine-in service.

The state of Michigan maintains it’s too risky to reopen right now while restaurants say there is a safe way to do it.

“We did what we were supposed to do and now we’re bearing the brunt of it,” Michael Jablonski said.

He owns Mike’s Tavern and Brick Street Bar & Grill in Grand Blanc. He doesn’t agree with the state extending an epidemic order for 12 more days.

“If your tables are spread apart like we were and all the restaurants were, six feet or eight feet apart, you’re wearing a mask in, you’re wearing a mask out, and your server is wearing a mask, I don’t see what the big deal is,” Jablonski said.

During Monday’s press conference, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed indoor dining.

“There is overwhelming research and scientific data that says going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options is associated with COVID-19 positivity. There are studies after studies that show this,” she said.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services sent five studies to back up the concerns about indoor dining.

A JPMorgan Study said the level of in-person spending in restaurants three weeks prior was the strongest predictor of where new cases would show up. A CDC study says adults with positive COVID-19 tests were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than those who were negative.

Another a study conducted by scientists in South Korea showed how the coronavirus spread between individuals that were more than 20 feet apart for five minutes without any direct or indirect contact.

But Jablonski said that’s not enough to make a decision that affects such a diverse group of the workforce.

“They don’t have enough data to substantiate what the end result will be, but we’re going to make a decision based upon that and we’re going to use one example to close down an industry. How ludicrous is that? It’s nuts,” Jablonski said.

Anyone interested in reading the two remaining studies, click here for a U.S. study from the Journal Nature of the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the United States or click here for a study from Stanford University published on Nov. 10 that tracked smartphones of 98 million people between March and May.

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