(WXYZ) — Following Governor Whitmer's press conference Friday where she announced recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state, including a voluntary pause on indoor dining, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association is calling her suggestion "misguided" and says it doesn't track with available data.
"We trust our operators to continue to provide a safe environment indoors or out in the coming weeks and we trust Michiganders to do their part to act responsibly and respectfully to help us all achieve that outcome. In accordance with CDC guidance, those fully vaccinated – a number already approaching 40 percent of the population – can safely dine indoors if they wear a well-fitted mask and maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet)," said Justin Winslow, MRLA President & CEO in a statement.
He also went on to say that "scapegoating" of the restaurant industry will not make herd immunity in Michigan come faster.
Read his full statement here:
"While we support and echo the governor’s call for a surge of vaccines to be prioritized for Michigan, we believe her suggested recommendation around indoor dining is misguided and doesn’t track with available data.
Restaurant operators have done an extraordinary job of maintaining a safe and sanitized environment for guests and employees alike since reopening in February and it shows in the data. While Michigan is experiencing an unfortunate surge that has fashioned nearly 1,000 new and ongoing COVID-19 outbreak investigations, an insignificant 0.3% of those investigations involved restaurant patrons.
We trust our operators to continue to provide a safe environment indoors or out in the coming weeks and we trust Michiganders to do their part to act responsibly and respectfully to help us all achieve that outcome. In accordance with CDC guidance, those fully vaccinated – a number already approaching 40 percent of the population – can safely dine indoors if they wear a well-fitted mask and maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet)."
As we approach a herd immunity in Michigan that will transform the hospitality industry for the better, it is incumbent on us all to act with common sense and proper precaution. But the continued scapegoating of the restaurant industry without proof or reliable data won’t make it come any sooner."
On Friday, Whitmer asked for a voluntary suspension of youth sports and in-person high school learning for the next two weeks while also calling on people to stop dining indoors amid the surge.
Michigan has the second-most cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the country, and has also seen thousands of new cases per day over the past few weeks. Several metro areas have the highest case rate in the country.
Michigan is also tracking nearly 1,000 new outbreaks across the state in all aspects of life, from bars and restaurants to K-12 schools and youth sports teams.
"We have seen 58 new outbreaks in restaurant and retail settings alone in the past week compared to the previous week," MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said.
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