Jeremy Syrocki, owner of three downriver restaurants, has a seasonal way of protesting Michigan's second indoor dining ban.
A 10-foot-tall inflatable outside his Trenton location depicts the governor as "Gretch the Grinch," blamed for taking away holiday revenue.
The smirking red-and-yellow display at Truago, on West Jefferson Avenue and West Road, is the businessman's jab at an epidemic order from Gretchen Whitmer's health department that runs through Dec. 9 -- perhaps longer if a dramatic Covid surge rages onward. (Restaurants also were shut last spring under an emergency order from the governor.)
Syrocki, a 45-year-old Grosse Ile resident who voted for Whitmer in 2018, tells Susan Selasky of the Detroit Free Press: "It's our little way of protest with her. I thought 'Gretch the Grinch' would be perfect."
Instead of shutting indoor service down again, Syrocki said, the governor could have restricted capacity or set a curfew. "We don't want to pack the restaurant, we want the opportunity to survive," Syrocki said.
He bought the $150 inflatable after spotting it while shopping for patio heaters, and added red lipstick.
The restaurateur replies on Facebook to critics, venting in a lengthy post that includes this:
Some people are missing the point.
Since day 1 we have been following all of the governor's orders. We have been cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. Socially distancing our tables. Wearing our masks. Getting names and numbers. This list goes on. ...
We donated food to all of the first responders in the area. We have been doing our part. ...
This is our opportunity to express ourselves. We never get a say in anything. so we decided to express with Gretch the Grinch. Distasteful, no! Funny, yes.
In no way shape or form are we trying to take away from the families, health care workers, first responders or anyone affected by this horrible virus. Everyone of us know someone affected by this.
This is to express how our governor has once again shut us down without any plan except ask Trump why he wont help us. How 'bout the state of Michigan? Maybe they could help our 150 employees and all the other employees of all the other businesses affected by this order that will not be making money for Christmas to feed their families.
Why is it that the restaurants are the problem? How would you like it if someone forced you to shut down without any help? You'd feel helpless as we do.