- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has put a pause on indoor dining in the state until Dec. 8.
- Joe Vicari, owner of 25 restaurants in the Metro Detroit area, has penned a letter asking fellow owners to join him in reopening restaurants if the pause continues past the 8th — even if it means defying the governor’s order.
- Vicari cites the ability of salons and malls to stay open as a reason why restaurants should as well.
- Restaurants have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, with 20,000 closing this year since March, according to Yelp.
- As colder weather begins to settle in some states and US hospitalizations crossed 90,000 for the first time, restaurants have turned to enclosed outdoor dining that may actually be riskier than indoor dining in some situations.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Joe Vicari, owner of Vicari Restaurant Group, penned a letter asking fellow Michigan restaurant owners to defy Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s pause on indoor dining if she continues it past December 8.
In the letter obtained by local NBC-affiliate WDIV, Vicari said owners “need to band together and fight this closure.”
“The data from the MLRA shows that just over 4% of COVID cases can be traced back to restaurants, and yet, [Governor Whitmer] decided to close restaurants, again,” Vicari wrote. “The malls are packed with holiday shopping, hair salons and gyms can remain open, yet our restaurants are closed.”
At the end of the letter, Vicari invites other owners to gather at one of his restaurants in order to become a part of the United Group of Michigan Restaurant Owners, and receive information as to how they will reopen.
The Vicari group owns 25 restaurants in the Metro Detroit area, including Andiamos and Joe Muer Seafood.
Per the Detroit Free Press, the Michigan Lodging and Restaurant Association went in front of a judge in order to explain why indoor dining should resume, but no ruling was made as the judge allowed both sides to offer more information. If their case is unsuccessful, the pause could continue for the rest of 2020.
Vicari has said he will reopen his restaurants on Dec. 9, regardless of the outcome.
Since the pause on indoor dining, the state has given out fines and revoke liquor licenses, according to Eater Detroit.
Restaurants have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, with over 20,000 restaurants permanently closing, according to Yelp data analysed by Cowen Research. Another 210,00 restaurants experienced an “extended temporary closure” between March and Sept. 1.
As colder weather begins to settle in some states, restaurants have turned to enclosed outdoor dining that may actually be riskier than indoor dining in some situations. Furthermore, a rise in coronavirus cases throughout the country, which saw the US cross 90,000 hospitalizations for the first time, may mean more shutdowns for restaurants in the near future.
Both Gov. Whitmer’s office and Vicari did not respond to requests for comment.
Vicari’s entire letter can be found on the WDIV website.
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