Survey: Strong Public Support to Fully Reopen Michigan Restaurants

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association in Lansing today released the results of a recent statewide survey that demonstrated strong public support to resume indoor dining and travel.
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restaurant stock photo
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association released the results of a statewide survey that demonstrated public support to resume indoor dining and travel. // Stock photo

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association in Lansing today released the results of a recent statewide survey that demonstrated strong public support to resume indoor dining and travel.

The survey also signaled overwhelming support for hospitality workers to receive prioritized vaccination and for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to produce a metric-driven plan to retain control over COVID-19 restrictions.

“A clear takeaway from this survey is that Michiganders are beyond ready to get back to the experiences that bring joy and meaning to their lives,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the MRLA. “As we embark on spring and another Pure Michigan summer, our hospitality leaders are preparing to meet tremendous pent-up demand safely and ask that our patrons do the same so that our success is sustainable.”

Survey highlights include:

  • Nearly 3 in 4 respondents (73.6 percent) believe that “Gov. Whitmer or the director of the Department of Health and Human Services should be required to put forth a comprehensive plan focused on data, metrics, and science that clearly demonstrates how decisions are made in relation to COVID-19 restrictions in order to retain unilateral control over the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.”
  • Self-identified Democrats (73.8 percent) support the requirement of a comprehensive, metric-driven plan to retain control of COVID-19 restrictions even more than Republicans (69.4 percent).
  • More than 9 in 10 respondents believe that hospitality workers should have prioritized access to a COVID-19 vaccine, including 97.4 percent of self-identified Democrats.
  • Nearly 2 in 3 respondents (65.7 percent) have already dined or are comfortable dining in a restaurant right now. Another 9 percent will do so once they receive a vaccine.
  • 64 percent of respondents believe restaurants should be open at 100 percent capacity indoors now or when vaccines are made available to everyone eligible.
  • 54 percent of Michiganders intend to take a vacation that would require an overnight stay in a hotel or similar accommodation in the next six months.

“While restrictions around restaurants, banquets, and event occupancy have at times become alarmingly partisan over the past year, this survey data shows overwhelming bipartisan support for the prioritized safety of hospitality workers on the frontline and for greater transparency and accountability in future decision making by the state,” says Winslow.

“Michigan restaurant and hotel operators and their team members have suffered disproportionately from this gridlock over the past year and the public clearly believes the hospitality industry deserves real support and actual solutions from their elected officials — not partisan gamesmanship. I hope those in Lansing are listening.”

The MRLA survey data was commissioned as part of the Marketing Resource Group Spring Poll, which was conducted March 18-22 with a 600-person sample and a 4.0 percent margin of error.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, founded in 1921, represents more than 5,000 Michigan foodservice and lodging establishments. The industry plays an integral role in Michigan’s economy, employing more than 595,000 people and creating nearly $40 billion in annual sales.

For more information about the MRLA, visit www.mrla.org and www.detroitrla.org.

To view the survey results, click here.

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