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Whitmer: Restaurants can open on Feb. 1 at 25 percent capacity

Posted at 12:32 PM, Jan 22, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Starting Feb. 1, restaurants and bars in Michigan can open indoor dining at 25% capacity and with a 10 p.m. curfew.

Some local business owners say reopening will help get them back on track.

“We’ve been kind of going down that path of trying to figure out how we’re going to reopen and this is the first step in order for that to happen, so we’re excited,” said Matthew Gillett, a co-owner of Saddleback BBQ.

Gillett was one of 100 Michigan restaurant owners who signed an open letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urging her to open indoor dining earlier this week.

Whitmer also announced at a Friday morning press conference that the state health department will allow larger crowds at stadiums and other entertainment venues.

Families relying on food assistance programs like SNAP can also expect a 15% increase in benefits for the next six months, the governor said.

Food insecurity has been on the rise in Michigan since the start of the pandemic, which is why some local non-profits say expanding benefits is crucial.

“There’s a lot of tools in the anti-hunger toolbox, but there’s no tool like the government,” said Phil Knight, the executive director of the Food Bank

Whitmer also hopes to ramp up vaccine distribution in the coming weeks. Nearly 600,000 vaccine doses have already been administered in Michigan, but she wants the daily number of vaccinations delivered to increase. More federal money is needed to acquire enough vaccines to meet the governor’s goal of 50,000 shots per day across the state.

“COVID-19 though is still a very real threat to us all and our economy and that’s why we’ve got to keep taking it seriously,” she said.