Virus shuts Michigan bars, restaurants, theaters, gyms, libraries


March 16, 2020, 12:03 PM


An eerily prescient 1947 novel by Albert Camus.

 

The pandemic lockdown on Michigan businesses is tighter.

Bars and restaurants are ordered to close through March 30, starting at 3 p.m. Monday, except for carry-out and delivery, under a new order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer a day before what would've been a windfall occasion for many bars -- St. Patrick's Day.

She also directs the closing at that same time of other spots where people gather, including movie theaters, gyms, yoga studios, libraries and casinos. They also will stay dark for two weeks, at miniumum.

"This is a tough day for a lot of us right now," posts Annette Marlowe, event planner at Joe Muer Seafood in Detroit.

Depending solely on take-out and delivery business is unrealistic for some -- perhaps many -- restauarnats. "The economics of that would never work. We would never make enough to cover the bills and rent," posts Matthew Buskard, owner of five Bobcat Bonnie's locations. "This is the toughest and most stressful situation I have ever been in and probably will ever be in."

Attorney General Dana Nessel posts:

"y thoughts today are with the workers and businesses in our food and hospitality industries. ... It is heartbreaking that an industry built on service to others must be shut down. ...

I am proud of the tens of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of workers who recognize the gravity of this situation and are responding quickly and without hesitation. We owe them our gratitude and support.


(Photo: DepositPhotos)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top federal infectious diseases doctor, stopped short Sunday of saying restaurants and bars need to shut, but suggested it's a good idea. 

Ohio and Illinois are among states that have taken similar steps.

"This is unprecedented territory, restaurant owners have never thought about this before," said Dean Bach, owner of M-Brew in Ferndale said at a news conference with Nessel and other government officials. "There's a sense relief that this is happening right now ... we wan to make sure our staff are safe and that our customers are safe."

Two restaurant and bar owners Deadline Detroit spoke with Friday said a several-months shutdown would likely put them out of business. Bach said he likely would not be able to pay workers during the hiatus. Many businesses will have to continue paying expenses like utilities, rent and insurance. 

Whitmer has expanded jobless benefits for those affected by outbreak. A just-signed executive order extends benefits to:

  • Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill.

  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.

  • First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.

More information is here

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By: Jack Thomas