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Gov. Whitmer, MDHHS announce indoor dining can resume on Feb. 1; unemployment and SNAP benefits may be extended

MDHHS issued an epidemic order to resume indoor dining on Monday.
Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 7:56 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 22, 2021 at 11:25 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Indoor dining at restaurants can resume on Monday, Feb. 1 according to an epidemic executive order

“While we must remain cautious, we can lift some restrictions,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

The announcement was made in a Friday morning press conference from Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service (MDHHS).

“I know this pandemic has hurt our restaurant owners, our restaurant workers, and all of their families,” Gov. Whitmer said. “I have spoken with a number of restaurant owners over the course of these months and I know it has not been easy.”

It was also announced that entertainment and recreation venues and restaurants that depend on indoor dining can postpone monthly sales use and withholding tax payments that were due Dec. 20, 2020, and on Jan. 20, 2021.

The state has partnered with restaurants across Michigan to participate in a program to provide hot meals to those in need.

As part of her supplemental budget request, Whitmer asked the legislature to approve $10 million to reimburse restaurants that opt to go through a program to update ventilation systems. “This will help us protect those who set foot into our restaurants,” Whitmer said. “We want this to work. We want people to stay safe.”

The Support Local campaign will continue through March with Michiganders urged to buy gift cards and getting take-out to support restaurants.

Whitmer urged the legislature to work with her on the Michigan COVID Recovery Plan, which she announced Tuesday. The plan is focused on growing the economy, helping to end the pandemic. It includes a strong focus on vaccine distribution, economic recovery, and more.

“My COVID recovery plan will use $90 million in federal funding to ramp up vaccine distribution in Michigan and bring us closer to our goal of getting 50,000 shots in arms per day,” Whitmer said. “It will provide crucial support for our small businesses and families that need it most through programs like Michigan Main Street Initiatives, and it will secure grants for restaurants and provide food and housing assistance to families who have been hit hard by this pandemic. It will help students and educators get back on track. Our working families, our small businesses, our front line and essential workers are counting on us to find common ground, to work across the aisle, to get this done on behalf of the state.”

Whitmer also urged the legislature to permanently extend unemployment benefits from 20 to 26 weeks, which would bring Michigan in line with 40 other states.

Thursday, Whitmer’s administration announced the more than 1.2 million people in Michigan eligible for food assistance benefits will receive an additional payment by the end of January that raises the monthly amount by 15%. The increase will last for six months.

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