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Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association releases roadmap for hospitality industry

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 5:27 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The hospitality industry has been hit hard during the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association released a reintegration plan that gives restaurants and hotels hope of returning back to normal.

“It provides some greater clarity of what comes next,” said Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association CEO Justin Winslow.

After a brutal year without conventions and with many people choosing to stay home over traveling, Michigan’s hospitality industry has a road map to help its members stay in business. The goal is to tie restaurant and event space occupancy to the “Daily Positive Test Rate,” giving them an idea as to when operations can go back to normal.

“As the positive numbers continue to drop, restaurants and those who run event centers alike can see when they can open to what degree. Is it 50 percent based on what is going on out there right now? When can we get to 100 percent? Then they can plan. They can bring people back in shop and employ some of those 200,000 people lost,” said Winslow.

Erik Nelson, owner of the English Inn said he has lost so much business due to the pandemic.

“We look forward to be able to host events and weddings once again because that is a major portion of our business. About one third of our business is events,” he said.

The pandemic has forced the English Inn to move their business outside.

“When we were able to reopen we focused so much on outdoor dining. This summer we had the biggest summer of outdoor dining we’ve ever had. But overall sales have been really impacted,” said Nelson.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association is also petitioning to have hospitality workers moved up on the vaccination list.

“To get that industry back on its feet you need the public feeling confident in going back and there is no better way to do that than systematically going after that industry and making that possible,” said Winslow.

According to the Restaurant and Lodging Association, more than 3,000 restaurants have closed and half the state’s hotels are hanging on by a thread.

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