(CBS DETROIT) – During this Covid-19 crisis a lot of restaurants have been able to keep up business using outdoor seating, but the weather is getting colder and that has many in the hospitality industry concerned.
“Now they got 50 percent in the restaurant, and 50 percent out in the street now you’re gonna cut that in half again,” said Paul Wegert, managing director at The Inn at St. John.
And operating an indoor only restaurant at 50 percent capacity will cause a huge loss says Wegert.
The luxury hotel’s five star restaurant has gotten by the last few months, thanks to outdoor seating. But like many establishments in Metro Detroit, this will soon come to an end, creating an uncertain future.
“We could see 5000 closures, permanented closures of restaurants and hotels over the next six months,” said President CEO Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association Justin Winslow.
In order to protect the hospitality industry from any further financial loss, Winslow along with his members, have launched the Don’t Leave Michigan’s Hospitality Industry Out In The Cold campaign.
“Because we believe we’ve earned the right to operate safely and need to be able to do so before it’s too late,” said Winslow.
The group is asking the state to ease some Covid-19 restrictions. One allowing restaurants expanded indoor capacity. Another, allowing meeting and banquet centers to operate at, at least 50 percent occupancy, instead of the current 10 people. An area Wegert says has seen a tremendous loss.
“Millions, yeah, and the bigger loss is my employees, I had 350 employees, I’m down to under 100 employees now,” said Wegert.
He says the banquet halls at the hotel that usually see weddings every weekend and corporate events throughout the week, has sat dark and empty since March.
He’s hoping through this campaign, that will soon change.
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