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What Michigan’s ‘Stay at Home’ Order Means for Restaurants and Bars

Takeout and delivery are still considered essential services

The exterior of Aladdin Sweets and Cafe in Hamtramck on a sunny day.
Michigan restaurants and bars will be allowed to continue offering takeout during the “stay at home” order.
Stock Detroit
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer escalated the statewide fight against the novel coronavirus on Monday, March 23, by issuing a “stay at home, stay safe” order for Michigan. The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, and will not impact the operations of restaurants and bars offering takeout and delivery, convenience stores, or grocery stores.

Whitmer’s order follows other state and municipal “shelter in place” orders in places like Illinois, Ohio, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Shelter in place orders close all non-essential businesses.

In the case of Michigan, all business and operations are being directed to “temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life,” according to a release. Business that are deemed essential must “designate the workers that meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons.” Whitmer stated during a press conference that fines might be issued if businesses did not follow the order.

Michigan residents are being told to stay in their homes “unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.”

Whitmer further implored the community, “Do not panic. Do not hoard,” in response to concerns over people panic buying groceries and asked that people who order food from restaurants try “when you can” to make use of delivery services rather than going out to pick up the food themselves.

The governor also took aim at the federal government’s response to the pandemic, after President Donald Trump implied in a tweet last week that she wasn’t being “proactive” enough. “The problem is being exacerbated because we’re still not getting what we need from our federal government,” Whitmer says, pointing to a lack of necessary masks, gloves, and other medical supplies required to protect hospital workers.

Whitmer previously announced the extension of restaurant and bar dining room closures through April 13. While the shelter in place order doesn’t really change much for the food industry, it raises the stakes for businesses who’ve faced financial losses as a result of the temporary closures. Addressing the concerns over closures resulting from the shelter in place orders, Whitmer stated that they were necessary to quickly address the crisis and mitigate the impact on the economy.

Read the full order below for a complete list of essential and non-essential services.

EO 2020-21 Stay Home, Stay Safe.pdf

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