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Michigan restaurants happy to stay open, accept continued capacity limits

Indoor dining capacity remains at 50% for restaurants in extended epidemic order
Michigan bars and restaurants have been closed for dine in service since November 18.
Michigan bars and restaurants have been closed for dine in service since November 18.(WJRT)
Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 2:16 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The extension of Michigan’s gatherings and face mask epidemic order on Friday maintains indoor capacity limits for restaurants and other hospitality businesses.

Restaurants can continue offering indoor dining service at 50% capacity under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service order, which is set to expire just before Memorial Day weekend on May 24. Other rules like spacing tables 6 feet apart and allowing no more than six people per table remain in effect.

The curfew requiring all bars and restaurants to close indoor service by 11 p.m. will continue under the new order.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association said in a statement that restaurants are happy to remain open and the association will accept a continuation of the capacity limits.

“While the Order maintains limits on occupancy in restaurants, banquets and event centers, it very importantly opts not to close them a third time as has been suggested by some,” said Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Michigan restaurants were required to close for indoor dining for several months in March 2020 and again for three months in November 2020. The shutdowns caused thousands of restaurants statewide to close permanently and led to about 250,000 layoffs.

Winslow maintained his stance that restaurants have operated indoor dining as a safe environment for patrons and employees by limiting COVID-19 spread.

“In the hospitality industry, we know the importance of working together to get the job done, and that is what we are calling for today,” he said. “It is incumbent upon all of us — operators and guests alike — to do our part to act responsibly so that we can quickly return to a quality of life that includes dining and travel opportunities for everyone.”

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