Governor Gretchen Whitmer has hinted a change in restaurant COVID-19 restrictions may be coming soon.
“In the coming days we will be assessing and making more determinations on a number of fronts,” said Whitmer in her press conference Wednesday.
The restaurateurs of Michigan want their restrictions to be relaxed. Still one of the most restricted industries, they are held to 25% capacity and say they cannot survive without more.
“They want to go to 50% and they think that it can be done safely and I get that but that’s what I would expect to hear,” said Whitmer, “And I’m hopeful that at eventually we get to that point.”
Governor Whitmer says she will follow the science and data. The data does not show huge numbers tied to restaurants but the science of transmission says restaurants could be the highest of risks.
“Indoor congregation is riskier than outdoor,” said Joshua Petrie of the UM School of Public Health, “If you’re not wearing a mask, you’re at a higher risk and restaurants are, unfortunately, that perfect storm.”
The tight restrictions also may be the reason Michigan hasn’t seen outbreaks tied to restaurants.
“As a result of those policies, there have been reduced cases and, ultimately, reduced hospitalizations and deaths,” said Petrie.
Whitmer says if anything is done it will be minor, despite Michiganders having questions, the raw numbers can’t answer.
“I think it really just comes down to the mask issue,” said Petrie, “You’re not able to socially distance and mask up as effectively in a restaurant, as you are in a bigger store.”