COVID-19

Michigan restaurant group proposes reopening plan

The business group wants restaurants to be able to open to 100% capacity as soon as possible.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association wants restaurants to go back to the way things were before the pandemic, and they’d like that to happen as soon as possible.

Chiding state leaders for what it sees as overly harsh restrictions, the hospitality industry lobbying group has released its own plan for restricting indoor dining during the pandemic.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

What It Is: The MRLA calls it an “economic reintegration strategy.” The plan would base restaurant restrictions on the state’s positivity rates – that is the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive.

For example, restaurants would be allowed to operate at 100% capacity as long as the state’s positivity rate is below 3% for seven days. On the other end of the spectrum, restaurants would have to halt indoor dining anytime the state’s positivity rate is above 15% for 14 days.

For comparison, the state’s positivity rate surpassed 15% only once during the fall surge of COVID-19. The MRLA’s proposal would have only limited restaurants to 25% capacity during the worst days of the pandemic.

What It Means: The MRLA is hoping that Governor Gretchen Whitmer will adopt its recommendations – that seems unlikely. Whitmer has pointed to the state’s aggressive COVID restrictions as the reason the state’s infection rates have been on the decline.

The Whitmer administration also quietly extended current restaurant restrictions until the end of March.

You can read more on MLive.

Support local. Donate today to Kalamazoo's only locally owned and independent daily news organization.