LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate Thursday approved legislation that would provide restaurants with a metrics-based approach to returning to normal business operations.
“I worked hand in hand with the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association to develop a plan that would present certainty and consistency to the industry as we continue the fight against COVID-19,” said Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “This plan is a great step to normalizing operations for this industry, and I am happy to have sponsored this legislation to get our restaurants back open and folks back to work.”
The hospitality industry is Michigan’s second-largest private sector industry and one of the most important in the state. It was also one of the hardest hit industries by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdowns. Over the past year, MRLA reported 3,000 restaurants have permanently closed and 200,000 jobs have been lost.
Senate Bill 250 would implement the MRLA’s data-driven plan and outline how to safely open the doors of Michigan’s struggling restaurants and hospitality businesses. The bill provides metrics for how and when restaurants may open and at what capacity and a basis for temporary closure when case numbers get too high.
The legislation does not include curfews for restaurants, and contract tracing is encouraged, not mandatory.
“This is a carefully put-together plan based on scientific data,” Bumstead said. “Folks deserve to know what information was used to shut down their business. They deserve transparency from their state government so their businesses have a clear pathway to safely move forward.
“I am happy to see this legislation move through the process. It is a strong step toward safely lifting current restrictions and returning to normal.”
SB 250 will now go to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.