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Huron Co. Board of Commissioners pleads with governor to lift restaurant restrictions in the Thumb

The Huron County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer pleading with her to lift the restaurant closure orders for the Thumb of Michigan.
Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 3:31 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2021 at 3:32 PM EST
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HURON COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - The Huron County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer pleading with her to lift the restaurant closure orders for the Thumb of Michigan.

The letter was sent on December 30 by the board.

In the letter, it sites several factors that the board said should lead to the lifting of restrictions including: the percentage of new COVID-19 cases that come from restaurants, low COVID-19 case counts and deaths in the county, and the closure’s economic impacts on the small towns in the Thumb.

The letter said in part, “Our restaurants suffered tremendously this summer over your restrictions, many of which will continue to suffer greatly with restricted occupancy. They need to be open to survive another year. We’ve already had some permanently close.”

The letter went on to say that outdoor dining hasn’t worked well in the Thumb because of the area’s high winds and rural settings.

ABC12 spoke to one county commissioner, Todd Talaski of Caseville, who said that restaurants in Caseville are really struggling.

“We’re a resort community and summertime’s our big time and we missed it,” he said.

Talaski owns Dufty’s Blue Water Inn in Caseville and said that the state’s epidemic orders and previous restrictions really took a toll on business.

“Very negative,” he said. “Affected us terribly very slow.”

Talaski said that he supports the letter that was sent to the governor’s desk last week and that from his point of view, asking the governor to lift the state’s restrictions is really about making sure businesses in Caseville and across the county survive.

“We had a group of people who, who encouraged us or asked us to do that,” Talaski said. “We had no opposition to it so far and we, we are concerned about our small businesses in our county.”

Talaski did not speak on behalf of the entire board but he did say that it was important to share this message with the governor with the hope of getting things reopened.

“We want to make that clear that we feel the need to get, to get thinking about opening even if it’s at a 50 or so percent capacity,” he said.

Caseville’s location along Saginaw Bay makes it a tourist destination for thousands of people each year.

The town’s chamber of commerce said that missing out on that tourism and the annual Cheeseburger Festival has only added to the stresses for local restaurants.

“I feel terrible for them,” said Steve Louwers, president of the Caseville Chamber of Commerce. “I know our whole board does. You know, they’ve done a fabulous job of doing whatever they could to have some sort of business but obviously business is down and it’s really tough to see.”

Talaski said that he hopes in the weeks to come that the state eases some restrictions so that business can return to normal.

Below is the entire letter sent by the board to Governor Whitmer.

Huron Co. Board of Commissioners letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Huron Co. Board of Commissioners letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.(WJRT)

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