SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) (11/15/2020)-For many restaurants, the fight against COVID is now also a fight for their very survival.
With Sunday’s epidemic order again shuttering indoor dining, that fight just became still more desperate.
MDHHS Director Robert Gordon announced dine-in service statewide would be suspended for three weeks during a Sunday press conference as the state’s daily coronavirus numbers continue their climb into uncharted territory.
“It affects everybody.”
Donna Wallschlager works as a server on Saginaw’s west side at Fuzzy’s Restaurant on Court Street.
“You’re in quicksand,” she related. “These small businesses… you’ve got to give them something to go with. Shutting us down—how are you supposed to survive that?”
In the months since the pandemic took hold, Fuzzy’s has alternated between breaking-even and losing money. It’s also been awhile since its owner has even cut herself a paycheck.
“She’s doing everything she can,” Wallschlager explained. “When your hands are tied, there’s only so much you can do.”
Beginning just after midnight Wednesday, the epidemic order requires the state’s stable of bars and restaurants to again shutter dine-in service. Modeled after a similar shutdown implemented in parts of Europe – which successfully flattened the curve there – the hope is that the time span will prove sufficient.
The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association said it was “profoundly disappointed” in Sunday’s announcement. In a press release, the association argued bars and restaurants weren’t signigicant sources of widespread transmission. The MRLA pointed out that some 40 percent of restaurants reported they would be in danger of closing – at least temporarily – under another prolonged shutdown, according to survey data.
“We can do this. It’s three weeks… let’s just get past this.”
That was Cops & Doughnuts Co-Owner Greg “Ryno” Rynearson, who said the bakery chain would weather this shutdown, but worried others wouldn’t be as fortunate.
“I think everybody needs to band together right now and order out from your local restaurants, really show the support and do as much as you can,” Rynearson urged.
Both agreed it was time to buckle down and get the virus under control or risk another step in the wrong direction.
“It’s our responsibility to each other, to our families and to ourselves to be responsible… hope for the best for everybody,” Wallschlager concluded.
Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.