News Bite

‘Science Settled’ On Indoor Dining?

When Robert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, ordered the state’s bars and restaurants to prohibit inside dining through Dec. 20, he said there is no debate on the issue.

“The science on eating and drinking inside is settled,” Gordon said, according to WDIV.

But many other states have not prohibited inside dining, which suggests the science may not be settled. A Nov. 20 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation said: “Seven states have recently closed restaurants to indoor or all in-person dining while 20 allow indoor dining but impose capacity limits. States have been more willing to close bars — 16 states have closed bars to indoor service. However, 15 states continue to have no restrictions on restaurants and 13 do not restrict service at bars.”

AARP did a nationwide survey of states, updated Dec. 9. It found that states have chosen a wide variety of ways to deal with restaurants, bars and the coronavirus.

In Maine, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has allowed restaurants to remain open to in-service dining, though they must close at 9 p.m. and seat no more than 50 people. Bars and tasting rooms, however, can not offer indoor service. In New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered bars and restaurants to stop offering indoor service from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has allowed indoor seating for bars and restaurants as long as alcohol can only be served for on-premises consumption and must accompany a meal.

Gordon was appointed to his position on Jan. 14, 2019, by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

His biography on the state website reads: “Director Gordon has a distinguished career in public service. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of finance and global strategy for the non-profit College Board.”

"Prior to joining the College Board, Director Gordon served in the U.S. Department of Education as acting assistant secretary at the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. He spent four years at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, including service as acting deputy director.”

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.