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Gov. Whitmer Takes Over the Grill at Lafayette Coney Island in Detroit

Michigan’s governor was slinging coneys today in downtown Detroit with a specialized face mask

Governor Whitmer stands next to the grill and a vat of chili. Governor’s Office [Courtesy photo]
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.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been making the rounds at local businesses over the last two weeks as the state’s economy moves forward with the delicate process of reopening. On Thursday, June 17, she made a stop in downtown Detroit to work the vaunted grill at Lafayette Coney Island and demonstrate proper COVID-19 workplace safety.

“Had a blast learning the ropes from Lafayette’s incredible staff, and was thrilled to see how Michigan businesses are ensuring the safety of their employees and customers,” Whitmer tweeted.

As of Monday, June 8, restaurants and bars around the state are allowed to operate for dine-in service at 50 percent capacity with six feet of social distancing between tables and employees in face masks. Customers must also wear face masks when visiting restaurants for carryout and before being seated at a table — though many employees have reported significant challenges with enforcing this aspect of the rules.

As part of the visit, Whitmer donned a face mask with a clear plastic window surrounding her mouth so people could read her lips and see her expressions. Many restaurant employees have expressed concerns that face masks could make it more difficult for them to connect with customers because their expressions are covered; servers and bartenders particularly rely on the tips from patrons for a large portion of their wages at most restaurants and bars.

Gov. Whitmer prepares a long line of coneys at the counter. Governor’s Office [Courtesy photo]
Gretchen Whitmer is seen at the grill preparing coneys through the window below the Lafayette Coney Island sign. Governor’s Office [Courtesy photo]

Gov. Whitmer has dined out at several establishments in the Detroit area in recent days including Tou & Mai in Cass Corridor and Good Times on the Ave where she was joined by Mayor Mike Duggan.

Gov.Whitmer speaks to a security guard while standing next to a masked and gloved employee at the Lafayette Coney Island counter. Governor’s Office [Courtesy photo]

Eater is tracking the impact of the novel coronavirus on the local food industry. Have a story to share? Reach out at

A Running List of Detroit Restaurants and Bars Partially Reopening for Dine-In Service [ED]
Detroit Restaurants Take Cautious Steps Toward Dine-In Service [ED]
Gov. Whitmer [Twitter]

Tou & Mai

4240 Cass Avenue, , MI 48201 Visit Website

Lafayette Coney Island

118 West Lafayette Boulevard, , MI 48226 (313) 964-8198 Visit Website