Michigan business leaders fear more closures after 3-week COVID “hiatus”


Some also wonder why the restrictions are largely focused on businesses, even though public health officials say private social gatherings are the greatest risk of spreading viruses.

State epidemic data show an increase in cases in some industries, like manufacturing, but only a handful of businesses like gyms and hair salons. Data released Monday by Michigan show that no retailer and customer has been affected by the most recent outbreaks, 17 at social gatherings, 59 at long-term care facilities and 57 at K-12 schools.

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Michigan bars were responsible for two new outbreaks and 10 ongoing outbreaks out of a total of 983 in the state. Restaurants, as a group, had 19 new outbreaks and 23 ongoing cases.

“Clearly something had to be done,” Calley said of the growing number of cases. “But the [new] the rules are aimed at areas that are not the biggest problem.

The rules also closed high schools and limited crowds indoors to no more than two households or 10 people and those outdoors to 25 people. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said on Monday that the city will enforce the order and plans to inspect businesses and schools.

Calley and the Detroit Regional House are urging Michigan officials to close their political divide. Republicans sued Whitmer over restrictions imposed without consent from Michigan state lawmakers and Supreme Court in October invalidated a series of orders.

Since then, the state’s health department – which is controlled by Whitmer – has issued similar restrictions, including the most recent.

Republicans in the legislature have has issued few public health proposals related to the pandemic, beyond proposed rules that would allow local health departments to withdraw from COVID lockdown orders.

After Sunday’s orders, Republican lawmakers reiterated months-long claims that Whitmer was excluding them from decisions. She disputes it.

“The people of Michigan deserve a place at the table when important decisions like these are made, and those decisions are made better and safer when they do,” said Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield. , R-Levering, in a statement.

The state, including its business community, is expected to see bipartisan collaboration during the pandemic, business advocates have said.

“As this crisis now exceeds eight months, the division between our executive and legislative leaders has become blatant and unnecessary as the Michiganders grapple with the twin challenges of health and the economy,” the Detroit Regional Chamber wrote in a statement. “Lansing’s mixed messages are hurting both our public health and our economy.

At the federal level, Calley said, elected officials “must avoid pointing fingers between the reasons why another stimulus package has not been passed and simply do it.”

The $ 2 trillion CARES law, passed in March, was “extraordinary,” Calley said. It brought relief to laid-off workers and businesses, including paycheck protection program loans that turned into grants in many scenarios.

Business leaders also say they are hoping for relief from the RESTAURANTS law, which stagnated after it was passed by the House of Representatives. The bar and restaurant industry is “more terrified than ever” by the latest closing order, Scott Ellis, president and CEO of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, told Bridge Michigan on Monday.

At least 20% of bars in the state are expected to close due to the pandemic, Ellis said, with a new survey scheduled for this week.

Restaurants also face terrible predictions of survival. In the fall, 20% told Michigan’s food and accommodation industry that they may not survive the winter. We do not know what this means for the $ 17.9 billion industry and its 450,000 workers.

Kelly Tebay of Ann Arbor was at a local restaurant on Sunday when a football-tuned television channel went live coverage of Michigan’s new three-week restrictions on indoor dining.

Hearing the session room servers talking about the new rules starting on Wednesday was “quite a heartbreaking experience.”

“People think [bar and restaurant workers] have all returned to work and everything is fine now, ”Tebay said.

Still, a staff member said they owe a parent another $ 1,000 since the last shutdown. Another expressed gratitude for a credit card that will be used for future expenses. This prompted her to start an online fundraiser to help them.

While take-out and alfresco dining can still take place in restaurants, these sales – especially in cold weather – won’t require the same levels of staff. Hiring had not rebounded to pre-pandemic levels when indoor capacity was 50%, and employees often saw their hours cut or tip volume reduced.

Food and beverage industry workers, Tebay said, “are still in pain from the last time we closed.”

Retailers, meanwhile, are “relieved that we can stay open,” said Meegan Holland, spokesperson for the Michigan Retailers Association.

Capacity requirements will be reduced from 50 percent to 30 percent during the three-week break.

“Enforcing masks and social distancing has certainly not been easy, but stores have proven that they can continue to sell and do so safely,” Holland said.

However, the time to order comes as many stores brace for the traditional increase in year-end sales from holiday shopping.

“The 30% cap will be attractive during the holidays,” Holland said. “No one wants to stand in line in the cold. We hope everyone will have patience.

Holland said retailers recognize the risks of customers turning to online sales. Many independent retailers have stepped up their online presence during the pandemic, giving shoppers turning to the internet for shopping a local option.

“People are not going to stop buying,” Holland said. “We want them to try shopping at Michigan online stores. Our economy is going to take a hit.

“It would be nice if we could come out with downtowns and shopping districts that are still able to thrive. “


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