“My hope is that if people do what they did around Thanksgiving and not travel, and do the right thing and keep our gatherings down to a household or two, max, and wear masks, that we will be in a strong position right after the first of the year to take another step forward,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer said she wants to reopen restaurants as soon as she can, but the industry has been on the wrong end of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ restrictions.
Restaurant owners aren’t happy about the continued ban.
The owner of Century Bowl, in Waterford Township, said the shutdown order on food and alcohol services at many venues is misguided.
Bowling alleys, casinos and other entertainment venues were allowed to reopen Monday, but they can’t serve food or drink concessions.
People aren’t allowed to bowl with anyone other than their families.
Century Bowl Owner Bill Diamond said he runs six centers across Metro Detroit and has laid off more than 100 employees this year. He said the rules for opening make it impossible to call his people back to work.
“It’s sort of like opening an amusement park and not allowing people to go on the rides,” Diamond said. “If you have to be in the unfortunate position of owning and operating one of (gyms, restaurants and bars), you’re really being the ones forced to sacrifice, and probably everyone else is just being incredibly inconvenienced.”
Whitmer said she sympathizes with Michigan’s struggling businesses, and especially the restaurants, but she maintains that the science tells her to keep them closed.
“Restaurants are the places where we are seeing the greatest amount of spread, and it’s simply because you’ve got people from various households coming together inside and taking their masks off to eat,” Whitmer said. “That is how the virus spreads and why this activity is more risky than going and sitting in a theater with your mask staying on the whole time.”
Whitmer encouraged Michigan residents to buy gift cards for Christmas and order carry-out.