Michigan bars, restaurants will require diners’ names, phone numbers starting Monday

By Brie Stimson

Diners in Michigan will be required to give their name and phone number to restaurants and bars starting Monday in an effort to contain a recent coronavirus surge, according to reports.

The new rule was put in place by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday and also includes limiting indoor gatherings without fixed seating — like in restaurants — to 50 people and individual tables to six people, The Detroit News reported.

The state set a record for new cases Thursday with 3,675, according to FOX 17 of Grand Rapids.

Restaurants in the state currently operate at 50% capacity and servers are struggling with customers who don’t like the current restrictions, Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, told FOX 17. He worked with the state on the restrictions but said his association doesn’t agree with the contact tracing mandate.

“Our frontline servers have already had trouble dealing with masks and mandates and mandating masks,” he said. “We did de-escalation training and all kinds of other things to help with that and now we’re taking to the next level. We have to gather someone’s personal information?”

He added, “I think when you’re going to sit down at a restaurant you just don’t expect someone to take your name and number because you’re coming to have a drink or a burger.”

Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, said in a statement the contact tracing mandate doesn’t match “existing science and data” that shows
“minimal transmission” from dining at restaurants: only about 2% of cases the state is investigating, according to Winslow, FOX 17 reported.

Establishments could be fined $1,000 for not following the order, according to FOX 17.

Robert Gordon, director of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the state is taking “targeted action” to areas that are “particularly severe sources of spread.”

“We are issuing guidance that is a very clear road map for what we need to do bring cases down,” he added, according to The Detroit News.


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