Lauwers issues statement on governor’s continued devastation of restaurant industry

‘The governor must discontinue her shameful disregard for the lives of job providers and small business owners’

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dan Lauwers released the following statement Friday after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended her shutdown of Michigan restaurants through Friday, Jan. 15:

“Yet again, the governor has shown disdain for small business owners in the state by extending her devastating shutdown of restaurants.

“While she acknowledges that the spread of the virus is trending in the right direction in the state because Michiganders are taking responsibility and doing the right thing — wearing masks, social distancing, taking the proper sanitation measures — she at the same time shows contempt for job providers trying to make ends meet by extending the shutdown.

“The governor does not trust Michiganders to act responsibly. Though the data does not indicate that restaurants are prominent sources of virus spread, the governor — inexplicably — has shut down restaurants again.

“She is unable or unwilling to tell small businesses what level of infection or hospitalization rate Michigan must achieve for them to reopen safely. Instead, workers, business owners and job providers are left waiting for press conferences, only then to simply be told they need to remain shuttered.

“Indoor dining at restaurants has been banned for more than 100 days throughout this year and counting. This has resulted in the loss of billions of dollars in sales and the laying off of most of the state’s restaurant workforce.

“The health department’s own data indicates that, of the COVID-19 outbreaks that have occurred, only 4.3% can be attributed to restaurants.

“Neighboring state such as Indiana and Ohio understand this and have kept indoor dining open. Open restaurants in bordering states further ravages the industry here in Michigan.

“Enough is enough. The governor must discontinue her shameful disregard for the lives of job providers and small business owners in the state and work with the Legislature to enact sensible policies in response to this pandemic.

“Today, I call on the governor or Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon to provide Michiganders with objective standards and/or COVID-19 case rates for restaurant owners to be able to take action and make plans in order to reopen.”