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Not Just Michigan Restaurants Under Patron Contact Tracing Mandate

'Barbering and cosmetology services, cinemas, sporting venues, amusement parks, arcades and bingo halls'

After the director of Michigan’s state health department announced significantly more intrusive restrictions and mandates on restaurants effective Nov. 2, Republican state Sen. Ken Horn issued a press release seeking an explanation.

“For months we’ve been told this is purely scientific, but this just doesn’t add up. It’s outrageous that this appointee is targeting restaurants when the data doesn’t match," Horn wrote. "According to the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, less than 2% of outbreaks come from restaurants, yet the order places a disproportionate amount of blame and responsibility on these small businesses."

Called the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, spokesman Bob Wheaton said the following in an email when asked why restaurants were the focus of the latest order:

“It is necessary to take actions such as limiting table sizes and having contact information collected, as the CDC has shown that visiting restaurants is a risk factor for COVID positivity, and currently there are 12 outbreaks in Michigan associated with bars or restaurants with currently active clusters up to 12 cases,” according to Wheaton. “Because there is heightened risk that COVID will spread when many people spend an extended period in an indoor setting without consistently wearing masks, public health experts around the country recognize restaurants as significant sources of risk for COVID’s spread. The CDC has published research showing that ‘Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.’ The executive order was necessary to save lives and contain the spread of COVID-19 amidst a surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Thousands of businesses across multiple sectors are required to take the names and phone numbers of customers so that they can be contacted if they are exposed to someone who has COVID-19. This includes businesses that provide barbering and cosmetology services, cinemas, sporting venues, amusement parks, arcades and bingo halls. We want to protect not only customers, but also hardworking, frontline staff. We thank restaurants and bars for taking appropriate precautions and being good partners.”


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.