COVID-19 Update: Restaurants Object to Continuation of Closure Order, CDC Requires Arriving International Air Travelers to Have Proof of Negative Test, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
graph of daily coronavirus cases in Michigan
Courtesy of Bridge

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Restaurants Object to Continuation of Closure Order
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association has voiced its opposition to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extension of the ban on indoor dining at state restaurants through at least Feb. 1.

Michigan’s restaurants have been closed for more days than any other state since the onset of the pandemic and stands alone as the only remaining statewide closure of dining rooms without a data-driven path to reopen and fully reintegrate in the economy.

“The governor’s continuation of this pause without a plan — now expanding to 75 days — is without parallel in the nation in terms of its unwillingness or inability to provide leadership to a decimated industry and its workforce,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the MRLA. “There are more than 100,000 unemployed hospitality workers and thousands of small operators on the edge of bankruptcy all waiting for hope and direction, and once again it did not come. This is unacceptable and we should all demand more accountability.”

According to MRLA, Michigan has met all three of the “Key Metrics for Safe Restart” established by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

First, the seven-day average of new cases:

  • 18, 2020: 6,932
  • 17, 2020: 4,234
  • 12, 2021: 3,029

Second, COVID-19 hospitalizations:

  • 18, 2020: 3,792
  • 17, 2020: 3,547
  • 12, 2021: 2,415

Third, percent positivity:

  • 18, 2020: 13.45%
  • 17, 2020: 9.6%
  • 12, 2021: 7.16%

Michigan’s hospitality job loss is twice the national average measured as a percent working in the industry today compared to February 2020 (the last month prior to pandemic).

Also, says the MRLA, Michigan has not prioritized vaccination for the hospitality industry, unlike most states that have similarly poor hospitality job loss. (For example: Washington D.C. is conducting all restaurant vaccination in early February and New York City in early March. Michigan hotel and restaurant workers are slotted for mid-May if the proposed schedule remain intact).

CDC Order Imposes COVID-19 Entry Testing Requirements for All Arriving Air Travelers
Starting Jan. 26, the CDC is requiring all air passengers traveling into the United States, including by private flights, air charter, and general aviation aircraft, to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.

All passengers must complete an attestation affirming their compliance with the CDC requirements and provide it to their aircraft operator.

The requirements in the CDC Order apply to all aircraft, including airlines, air charter operators, and private aircraft operators arriving in the United States.

Beginning on Jan. 26, aircraft operators are responsible for:

  • Verifying that each passenger has completed an attestation. Attestations may be completed electronically or on paper. The aircraft operator must keep a copy of each attestation for two years.
  • Confirming each passenger has documentation of their negative test result or proof of recovery. The documentation should indicate that the passenger has taken a COVID-19 viral test no more than 3 calendar days before their flight departure with a negative result, or that a passenger who has recovered from COVID-19 has received clearance from a public health official to travel. Aircraft operators do not need to retain copies of these documents.
  • Not permitting any passenger to board without verifying the attestation and confirming the documentation.

The following limited exemptions are provided in the CDC Order.

  • Children under 2 years of age.
  • Crew members on official duty, including those in an assigned deadhead status.
  • Operators transporting COVID-19 passengers pursuant to CDC authorization.
  • Certain law enforcement, government, and military operations
  • CDC recognizes that certain. Any operator wishing to conduct operations to the U.S. from countries without testing capacity must request and receive a waiver directly from the CDC.

For more information, visit here.

New MDHHS Epidemic Order Allows Indoor Group Exercise, Non-contact Sports
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has updated its epidemic order to allow re-opening of additional activities where Michiganders can remain masked and socially distanced. This includes indoor group exercise and non-contact sports. The new order is effective Saturday, Jan. 16 and will last until Sunday, Jan. 31.

Previously, MDHHS had identified stabilization or declines in three metrics as critical for relaxing protocols. Although Michigan saw improvements across all three following the “pause” implemented in mid-November, some numbers have plateaued or begun to increase in recent days:

Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in 13-day decline, with current capacity is at 12 percent for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 19.6 percent on Dec. 4.

Overall case rates:  increasing, currently at 266 cases per million. Peaked at 740 cases per million on Nov. 14 and declined to a low of 239 on Dec. 25.

Positivity rate: plateauing; currently at 9.1 percent after reaching a low of 8.1 percent on Dec. 28 and increasing up to 10 percent since then.

Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department. Families are encouraged to stay home as much as possible to maintain momentum and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them.

The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause indoor dining in bars and restaurants, but they can continue to offer outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery. The working plan is to open indoor dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits, and a curfew on Feb. 1, but the ultimate decision depends on data continuing to stabilize. Additional details on the reopening pathway are expected next week.

Colleges and universities can have students return to campus for the winter semester and restart in-person courses as of Jan. 18.

As before, employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, while employees who can work from home should continue to do so. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; and personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment.

For information on the state’s vaccine distribution plan, visit here.

Impact100 Metro Detroit Chapter Announces $252K Grant Pool for 2021
The women of Impact100 Metro Detroit announced at its sixth annual Big Reveal event, conducted virtually again this year, that its membership increased 25 percent for the 2021 grant year.

Despite COVID-19 challenges, 252 women have donated $252,000 to be awarded to local nonprofits who serve Macomb, Oakland, and/or Wayne counties. For the second year in a row, Impact100 Metro Detroit will award two $100,000 grants to local nonprofit heroes from Metro Detroit. And for the first time ever, the additional $52,000 will be distributed evenly to the remaining finalists.

Grant applications will be accepted from today through Feb 12. Local nonprofits in metro Detroit can learn more about how to apply for the Impact100 Metro Detroit Grant here.

Grant proposals are fully vetted by members and include financial reviews and site visits. The grants will be awarded virtually at the annual award event, The Big Give, on May 26. Prior to the event, each nonprofit finalist will present their grant proposal to Impact100 Metro Detroit members who will then vote for their top finalist. The two $100,000 Grant Award Winners will be announced at the event.

Marketing Webinar Series Kicks Off with Jan. 21 Event
The Direct Marketing Association of Detroit is kicking off its 2021 webinar series on Jan. 21 at noon with an event featuring technologist and business owner Sefi Grossman with a presentation titled “2020 Gave Us Lemons, But Let’s Make Lemonade in 2021.”

“Service oriented businesses took an unprecedented hit in 2020 due to COVID-19,” says Grossman, CTO and CEO of Combustion. “This webinar should appeal to anyone trying to help their business flourish in 2021. We’ll discuss how to arm your company or brand to adapt to new trends that are expected by customers in the service space.”

To participate, visit here.

February’s event, the date of which is to be announced, will no doubt draw the same level of enthusiasm; it will feature Jim Anderson, founder and president of Urban Science, the science-based business consultancy.

U-M Scholars Awarded $10M in Mellon Foundation Grants to Address Racial Justice
The University of Michigan has been awarded two $5 million grants through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative competition. The grants, led by professors Stephanie Fryberg and Earl Lewis, will fund projects that focus on addressing racial inequity.

The foundation said the initiative was designed to support “visionary, unconventional, experimental and groundbreaking projects in order to address the long-existing fault lines of racism, inequality, and injustice that tear at the fabric of democracy and civil society.”

In collaboration with IllumiNative, the Center for Native American Youth at Aspen Institute and the Native Organizers Alliance, Fryberg will develop the Research for Indigenous Social Action and Equity Center, with the help of the Just Futures grant. The new center’s university collaborations include Harvard, Brown, and Stanford universities and the University of California, Berkeley.

Lewis’ project, Crafting Democratic Futures: Situating Colleges and Universities in Community-based Reparations Solutions, will aim to build on institutional and community-based partnerships to explore localized reparations solutions for African American and some Native American communities.

The policies and initiatives that are produced, which Lewis intends to be related to workforce development, entrepreneurship, homeownership, education and infrastructure, will stem from the deep exploration of local histories, municipal support and meaningful community engagement.

To carry out the pilot program, Lewis will collaborate with Carnegie Mellon and Emory universities, Rutgers University-Newark, Spelman College, WQED Multimedia, and the Council of Independent Colleges, whose member institutions include Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.; Connecticut College; Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga.; and Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.

Oakland University to Offer $2,500 Scholarship for Frontline Workers
Oakland University’s new Frontline Workers Scholarship program will support workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in their educational journey, including the pursuit of their bachelor’s degree.

The program will provide a $2,500 award — $1,250 per year over two years or $625 per semester — to Michigan community college frontline workers who earned their associate’s degree from any of the 28 Michigan community colleges and transfer to Oakland University between summer 2021 and fall 2024.

“In these difficult days of the pandemic, we want to extend funding support and appreciation to the extraordinary efforts of frontline workers,” says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president of OU. “We hope these scholarships provide vital financial support as they pursue their educational ambition.”

The creation of this award, which serves as an extension of the statewide “Futures for Frontliners” initiative, serves the Oakland University mission of supporting postsecondary degree attainment impacting Michigan and the world through education, research, scholarship, and creative activity.

It is also the first statewide Future for Frontliners extension program available to approved frontline workers, who worked in essential industries during the Michigan COVID-19 shutdown in the spring of 2020.

To be eligible for the Frontline Workers Scholarship, students must:

  • Provide proof of approval for participation in the State of Michigan Futures for Frontliners program.
  • Complete an associate’s degree, or have earned a minimum of 62 credits, at the time of enrollment at OU.
  • Attend and successfully complete a minimum of 12 (full-time) OU credit hours per semester.
  • Enroll at OU by the fall 2024 semester to qualify.

For more information, visit here.

Michigan Golf Show Cancelled
The Michigan Golf Show, scheduled for March 5-7 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, has been canceled.

The show was expected to draw close to 40,000 golfers to view exhibits from more than 300 vendors representing equipment manufacturers, courses, and resorts throughout the state and Midwest.

Todd Smith, president of the show, says next year’s Michigan Golf Show has been scheduled for March 4-6, 2022.

Soup City ‘Virtual Houseparty’ to Benefit COTS
Detroit-based nonprofit COTS will conduct its annual Soup City fundraiser as a virtual event, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m., themed “The Virtual Houseparty” and featuring music by Alexander Zonjic & Friends.

The two-hour pre-recorded event will debut on COTS Facebook and YouTube platforms. To view the event on COTS website, visit here.

This event will include entertainment by Zonjic, the Selected of God Gospel Choir, and a special vocal performance by COTS CEO Cheryl P. Johnson.

The event is free to the public, however participants are encouraged to make a donation to COTS or to even host their own private and socially distanced “houseparty” in their home. Donations at $75 will afford donors with a Houseparty Kit that serves four to six people. Donations at $100 will do the same with additional VIP perks. Houseparty Kits include soup mixes, desserts, COTS swag, a digital link to Alexander Zonjic’s newest release, “Playing it Forward,” a Houseparty Guide with access to drawings and prizes and more.

Donations may be made online here. Proceeds from this event will help COTS continue with its mission of providing affordable housing and shelter to families overcoming poverty and homelessness.

For more information, visit here.

DHS Virtual Boom Town Ball to Transport Viewers to the 1920s
The Detroit Historical Society’s biggest annual fundraiser, the Boom Town Ball, is moving online for 2021, Jan. 23 from 6-7:30 p.m.

The event will be based on locations and storytelling around the Detroit Historical Museum’s newest exhibition, “Boom Town: Detroit in the 1920s.” The broadcast will feature segments inside the Detroit Historical Museum, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and the society’s rarely seen storage facility, the Collections Resource Center.

Viewers will also get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the city’s infamous speakeasies, including the Cadieux Café and Café D’Mongo’s, as they mix cocktails, bid on auction items, and raise the first toast to the society’s centennial.

Tickets for the virtual event can be purchased here.

Heart Association Sponsors National Wear Red Day Feb. 5
The American Heart Association is promoting “Go Red for Women,” Feb. 5, a national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women.

Across the state and nation, millions of people will wear red attire to raise awareness of heart disease in women. Part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement, Wear Red Day focuses the nation’s attention on heart disease, the number one killer of women in America.  Women and men throughout the country will be wearing red sweaters, red dresses, red ties or red dress pins to show their support of this movement to save women’s lives.

The event is part of American Heart Month, an annual February celebration that began in 1964, that urges Americans to join the battle against heart disease.