michigan restaurant and lodging association | Michigan Radio
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michigan restaurant and lodging association

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Federal help is on the way for restaurants, bars, food trucks, caterers and other food establishments across the country that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to help them keep their doors open.

The U.S. Small Business Administration opened up applications on Monday  for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The RRF was established under the American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new federal program is providing money for Michigan bars and restaurants hard-hit by COVID-19.

But one industry official says more help is needed.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is providing $28.6 billion in direct relief through the U.S. Small Business Administration under the American Rescue Plan.   

Ebony Road Players

Today on Stateside, education systems had to reimagine learning in K-12 schools during the pandemic. Did those systems rise to the occasion? Plus, we meet a chef in Detroit who retooled by organizing restaurateurs to fill gaps in food security.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has rejected the restaurant industry legal challenge to Michigan’s temporary ban on indoor dining.

In his ruling released Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney wrote there is “a plausible explanation for the emergency order: Restaurant patrons cannot wear a mask while eating or drinking.”

an empty row of tables at a restaurant
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A lawsuit challenging Michigan’s temporary ban on indoor dining is set for a hearing in federal court Monday morning.


Michigan’s restaurant industry filed the suit after state health department officials imposed a three week ban on indoor dining November 15. The ban was imposed in response to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

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This is normally one of the busiest times of the year for Michigan restaurants and bars. 

Not this year.

The state health department’s three week ban on indoor dining to curb a surge in COVID-19 cases is forcing many to turn to takeout orders to survive.

But takeout orders are straining many restaurants.

Attorneys for the state of Michigan say a restaurant industry lawsuit is attempting to substitute a judge’s opinion for that of public health officials on COVID-19.

Last week, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association filed suit against the state’s order banning indoor dining for three weeks. 

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A third-generation family-owned Big Boy restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan is staying open for in-person dining, despite the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' three week ban on indoor dining and drinking in Michigan's restaurants and bars. Restaurants and bars may stay open for outdoor dining, carry out and deliveries only under the November 15 order.

The temporary ban took effect on November 18 with the goal of slowing the spread of COVID-19 as it surges across the state.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has denied a request from Michigan’s restaurant industry for an order blocking new state restrictions on indoor dining.

Last Sunday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a ban on indoor dining and drinking in Michigan bars and restaurants. The new restrictions are in reaction to a surge in COVID-19 cases. The ban took effect Wednesday. 


restaurant workers
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Today on Stateside, we talk about the restaurant association’s lawsuit against the state’s orders hitting down in-person dining experiences. Also, as the CDC recommends Americans not travel for Thanksgiving, we check in on the travel industry which has been improvising day to day throughout the pandemic

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Marcela Rubio-Orozco and Andrew Epstein are married co-owners of Dolores, a restaurant and bar that served homemade Mexican food in Ypsilanti. They made the difficult decision to close the business earlier this year amid the first COVID-19 surge and the public health restrictions that accompanied it.

Restaurant workings sanitizing tables while wearing masks.
Anatoliy / Adobe Stock

Michigan’s new COVID-19 order shuttering indoor service in bars and restaurants for three weeks is now being challenged in federal court.

The new rules were announced Sunday. The order will allow take-out, delivery, and outdoor dining only starting Wednesday.

The rules are intended to blunt a spike in COVID-19 cases in Michigan.