Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association Releases Roadmap to Reopen Restaurants Starting May 29

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association released its Roadmap to Reopening, a step-by-step guide to navigating restaurant reintegration as COVID-19 stay home orders are expected to lift. It offers guidelines and checklists designed to put restaurateurs in a position to safely reopen operations while giving the general public confidence that they can return to restaurants.
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The MRLA released its Roadmap to Reopening to help guide restaurants as they reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic. // Stock photo

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association released its Roadmap to Reopening, a step-by-step guide to navigating restaurant reintegration as COVID-19 stay home orders are expected to lift. It offers guidelines and checklists designed to put restaurateurs in a position to safely reopen operations while giving the general public confidence that they can return to restaurants.

The association has shared the roadmap with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer so she and her administration can provide restaurants across the state with necessary processes and procedures to safely reopen. The association also says it reaffirms its position that restaurants should be allowed to reopen on May 29 upon the expiration of Executive Order 2020-69.

“The Roadmap to Reopening is a thoughtful and thorough guidance for restaurant operators, incorporating the best practices of several federal agencies, relevant content from existing Executive Orders, and innovative recommendations from our involvement in the Michigan Economic Recovery Council,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the association. “Knowing that half of all states have already reopened restaurant dining in some capacity, we felt the time was right to share our expertise with Gov. Whitmer so that she has every tool she needs to safely reopen restaurants on May 29.”

The roadmap includes health and safety guidelines, recommended operational and safety protocols for customers and employees, and tips for building customer confidence. It includes eight checklists:

  • Expand and establish cleaning procedures
  • Develop a COVID-19 response team, which is customized for small restaurants and large chains
  • Employee health and personal protection equipment requirements
  • Customer health and social distancing
  • Managing food pickup and delivery
  • Verifying third parties, guidance for working with vendors and suppliers
  • Reopening water systems for safe consumption and use
  • Menu and the supply chain

The 26-page booklet includes guidelines and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as insights from Whitmer’s executive orders and the Michigan Economic Recovery Committee’s protocols. It can be found here.

The Michigan restaurant industry generated $19 billion in sales in 2019 and lost about $1.2 billion in sales in April, according to the association. Since the outbreak, 249,000 restaurant employees have been furloughed or laid off in Michigan. Between March 1 and April 16, 55 percent of Michigan restaurants temporarily (53 percent) or permanently (2 percent) closed for business, representing thousands of businesses based on a total 17,557 eating and drinking locations in Michigan in 2019.

“Michigan restaurants have been decimated since their forced closure on March 16,” says Winslow. “Those that remain in business stand ready to meet or exceed the challenging, but necessary new standard procedures that will keep their guests and team members safe. These restaurateurs are Michiganders who need to be afforded that opportunity before it is too late.”

The association was founded in 1921 and represents more than 5,000 Michigan foodservice and lodging establishments. The foodservice and lodging industry employs nearly 600,000 people in Michigan and creates $40 billion in annual revenue.

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