STRAIT – Two leading restaurateurs stand by their letter, saying they will reopen their dining rooms after a three-week restriction order expires next week and called on restaurants to join forces to do the same.
“This industry is hanging by a thread,” said Rosalie Vicari. Rosalie and her husband Joe Vicari own the Vicari restaurant group, with upscale restaurants like Joe Muer Seafood, Brownies On The Lake and several Andiamo Italian restaurants.
Their new letter called on Metro Detroit restaurants to regroup in a meeting this week.
Look here: Letter sent to local restaurateurs
“We expect the governor to make an announcement to extend his ‘break’ until the end of the year on Sunday, December 6,” the letter read. “We will reopen our restaurants on December 9.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced what was considered a “three week break” as cases of COVID-19 exploded in the weeks following Halloween. The order – made by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – required closed indoor dining rooms, forcing restaurants to return to perform, curbside or for delivery until the order was lifted . It expires on December 8.
The statement in the letter was initially viewed as a defiant stance against the governor’s order and the possible ruling of a federal judge. The Vicaris said the letter was more about preparing, not challenging the governor.
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“We are going to have lawyers [at the meeting] and weigh all our options. It might not be the smartest thing to open, or it could be the smartest thing to open, ”said Joe Vicari. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday and so far restaurateurs have said they have had a positive response.
The fight the Vicaris are calling for is already being played out in federal court where the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association is suing the MDHHS chief. Restaurants said the order to shut down dining halls was unconstitutional and not backed by science. The state has said it has the support of the Michigan Hospital Association and while they understand the pain of the shutdown, they cannot prolong the pandemic. They Vicaris did not agree.
“Malls are crowded, Black Friday shopping. Gyms are crowded. Hairdressers are crowded. Department stores are crowded. Yet the restaurants are closed and we just don’t understand that, ”said Rosalie Vicari.
The trial judge, who is heard in the Western District of Michigan, said he would likely render a decision shortly, but did not give an exact date given the timing of the MDHHS order, noting that “say that the situation is fluid is an understatement.
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