News Bite

Restaurants Say New Lockdown Will Just Drive 'Super-Spreaders' Underground

Association says safer to let people gather and dine where safety rules are enforced

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association said in a press release Nov. 15 that by ordering restaurants and bars to close for in-dining service for three weeks, the governor and state government may increase the number of “super-spreader” COVID-19 events as people meet to socialize in private residences instead.

“We were hopeful that eight months into this pandemic that we could collectively recognize that there is an inherent and insatiable desire for humans to congregate, often over food,” the restaurant lobby association stated in a press release. “Shutting down dine-in service removes the ability to accommodate that natural human desire in a highly regulated, sanitized, capacity-limited and appropriately spaced setting in a restaurant. Instead, it will drive that behavior to innumerable residential social gatherings over the holidays, which have already proven to be super-spreader environments.”

The association pointed to state data that showed in the last two weeks, just five COVID-19 investigations involved a restaurant patron “despite serving millions of Michiganders each day.”

The association reports that 2,000 restaurants have already closed for good in Michigan this year, and it projects more than 6,000 more will close by spring if the state’s latest lockdown is prolonged and federal stimulus funds do not become immediately available.

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.