VIDEO: Dan's Downtown Tavern Owner Speaks in Video of Restaurant Owners Pleading to Re-Open Dining Rooms

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Dan Kolander, owner of Dan's Downtown Tavern in Saline, spoke in a video of restaurant owners pleading with the state to allow restaurants to re-open their dining rooms after the current health order expires after Dec. 8.

The video (shown below) is produced by the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, a group representing the restaurant industry. The group recently filed for a temporary restraining order to overturn the three-week prohibition on indoor dining.

The video features restaurant owners from around Michigan pleading with the state to re-open dining rooms when the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services emergency order expires.

"This is a holiday season. It's supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be a good time. And, honestly, this has been a nightmare," Kolander said in the video.

The purpose of the order his to halt the spread of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, 8,761 people in Michigan have died with COVID-19.

From June 20 through early October, 5-15 people a day were dying with COVID-19.  That number has since increased to 86 - more than half of what Michigan saw at the peak in April (using seven-day moving averages).

According to a press release, the MRLA tried to broker a deal that would have cut restaurant capacity to 25 percent and implemented a 10 p.m. curfew for the duration of the order.  The press release stated that restaurants are responsible for 4.3 percent of COVID-19 outbreaks. The MRLA suggested that more than 40 percent of restaurants will close, at least temporarily, if dining rooms are forced to close - on top of 2,000 restaurants that have already closed their doors permanently. The organization estimated 250,000 employees may be laid off just before the holidays.

Kolander's video was clipped from another video which can be viewed on the SaveMyRestaurants.com website.

"I have 18 people, some with little kids - newborns, who rely on this business, who rely on their income, especially this time of year, up until January," Kolander said. 

Kolander said he hoped the situation can be resolved without closing dining rooms until January.

"There are six restaurants in this town - probably three of them are probably not going to make it," Kolander said.

Kolander said he thought it was sad the state didn't think restaurants are not as clean as a grocery store. 

"Please open us up. We are clean. We are safe. We follow the rules," Kolander said.

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