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Restaurant group opts to close indoor dining, following Governor's recommendation

Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged Michiganders to stop dining indoors or gathering indoors for two weeks in an effort to curb the surge of COVID-19.
Credit: 13 OYS
All In Hospitality includes Donkey Taqueria, Hancock, The Winchester, and Royals in Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — All In Hospitality Group in Grand Rapids has decided to close indoor dining for two weeks, starting Monday. The restaurant group includes Donkey Taqueria, Hancock, The Winchester and Royals

This is following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urging Michiganders to avoid dining indoors for two weeks. This is an effort to curb the surge of COVID-19 the state is currently experiencing. 

"We're concerned with what's been going on over the course of the last few weeks," said Chris Funaro, the Director of All In Hospitality Group. "We know that a lot of people are dealing with COVID fatigue, and we understand that a lot of people are starting to get vaccinated, or feeling the summer itch, etc. We just want to maintain our consistency with doing whatever we possibly can do to help be a part of the solution, and not be a part of the problem. This is just another thing that we can do to hopefully help make this go away forever."

Instead of indoor dining, those four restaurants will be open for outdoor dining and takeout only. 

Credit: 13 OYS
Many of the restaurants in the group have outdoor dining options, such as igloos.

For the past week, Funaro said they have been preparing the outdoor spaces for spring. So far, he's hopeful the weather will allow for a great outdoor eating experience. 

He asks customers to be patient with them during this time. Also, masks are required when not eating, even in their outdoor area. 

"I think we're all working for the same thing right now," said Funaro. 

Meanwhile, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA) feels differently. In a statement, President Justin Winslow called the recommendation "misguided."

"While we support and echo the governor’s call for a surge of vaccines to be prioritized for Michigan, we believe her suggested recommendation around indoor dining is misguided and doesn’t track with available data. Restaurant operators have done an extraordinary job of maintaining a safe and sanitized environment for guests and employees alike since reopening in February and it shows in the data.  While Michigan is experiencing an unfortunate surge that has fashioned nearly 1,000 new and ongoing COVID-19 outbreak investigations, an insignificant 0.3% of those investigations involved restaurant patrons. We trust our operators to continue to provide a safe environment indoors or out in the coming weeks and we trust Michiganders to do their part to act responsibly and respectfully to help us all achieve that outcome.  In accordance with CDC guidance, those fully vaccinated – a number already approaching 40 percent of the population – can safely dine indoors if they wear a well-fitted mask and maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet). As we approach a herd immunity in Michigan that will transform the hospitality industry for the better, it is incumbent on us all to act with common sense and proper precaution.  But the continued scapegoating of the restaurant industry without proof or reliable data won’t make it come any sooner."

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