Here she goes again. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who never met a coronavirus restriction she doesn’t like, is imposing more measures on restaurants and bars. Starting Monday, eating establishments must begin collecting the names and phone numbers of each customer who comes to enjoy a meal or a drink.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services put the new rule into place last week in response to an increase of coronavirus infections. Fox News reported that the state has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases over the past week.
From Fox News:
“Michigan hit a record of new daily infections last week, with the agency announcing that on Oct. 31, there were 3,792 new cases. As of Oct. 29, Michigan’s test positivity rate increased to 5.5 percent from around 2 percent, and the state currently has around 172 infections per million people.”
The agency released a statement explaining why they needed to enact even more draconian measures ostensibly to fight the coronavirus. “Because individuals remove their masks while eating and drinking in indoor settings, seated tables with people from different households create high risks of spread,” they insisted. “Like many other businesses in Michigan, bars and restaurants will also be required to take names and contact information to support effective contact tracing if necessary.”
According to Fox News, “other restrictions announced by the department include reducing the limit on non-residential indoor gatherings without fixed seating from 500 to 50 people, and restricting individual table sizes at restaurants to six people.”
Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon released a statement in which he encouraged residents to “Wear masks. Keep six feet of distance. Wash hands. And avoid the indoor get-togethers where we have seen COVID explode.”
Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, told Fox 17 that these new rules would make it even more difficult for businesses that are already having trouble making a profit during the pandemic.
“Our frontline servers have already had trouble dealing with masks and mandates and mandating masks,” Ellis noted. “We did deescalation training and all kinds of other things to help with that and now we’re taking to the next level. We have to gather someone’s personal information?”
He added, “I think when you’re going to sit down at a restaurant you just don’t expect someone to take your name and number because you’re coming to have a drink or a burger.”
Businesses that fail to adhere to the new measures could be fined up to $1,000. Violating the rules could also be classified as a misdemeanor and subject the accused to a six-month jail sentence. The operator
Whitmer seems to be undeterred by the fact that the Michigan Supreme Court has already struck down her COVID restrictions. After the ruling was made, she indicated that she would seek other ways to impose coronavirus rules. It appears she is making good on her promise.
However, the state’s Supreme Court, which has already hampered to Whitmer’s agenda, might do the same in this instance. Unfortunately, the question remains: How long will these business owners have to deal with these onerous rules before the court gets around to addressing them?
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