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Restaurants and bars prepare to reopen

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Posted at 5:53 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 17:53:29-04

LANSING, Mich. — Northern Michigan restaurants can reopen on Friday. Now, restaurants and bars in the rest of the state are working to get ready to reopen.

The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association has put out some guidelines that include wearing a face mask, limiting contact between guests and employees, and installing Plexiglas barriers. They also suggest screening employees before each shift.

"Our industry is already very well-regulated when it comes to sanitary requirements and now we're going to step it up even more," said Scott Ellis, executive director of the MLBA.

The association also suggests removing condiments and salt and pepper shakers from tables.

While these guidelines are not mandatory, restaurants are encouraged to use them as best practices.

"It's going to be a different look. I think maybe it could be a little intimidating at first, but I think people are going to want it. I think people want to come in and know they're going to be safe at the location," said Ellis.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order specifies Northern Michigan restaurants can only allow 50% capacity. Ellis says some business owners may not open because they'll lose money.

"No business model is set up at 50%, and to have 50% 25% of the time is even harder," he said.

The MLBA is encouraging restaurant owners to put up signs to let customers know the steps they're taking to keep the restaurant safe.

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