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Horn demands DHHS director’s rationale for singling out restaurants

LANSING, Mich. — After the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on Thursday revised and extended its epidemic order to require masks in schools, require bars and restaurants to keep customer names and contact information, further limit outdoor gatherings, and move the Northern Michigan region back to Phase 4, state Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, issued the following statement:

“For months we’ve been told this is purely scientific, but this just doesn’t add up. It’s outrageous that this appointee is targeting restaurants when the data doesn’t match. According to the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, less than 2% of outbreaks come from restaurants, yet the order places a disproportionate amount of blame and responsibility on these small businesses.

“This industry was devastated by COVID-19 and the executive orders that were put on it. Regardless of how quickly we open them up, consumer confidence is still an issue in the restaurant industry. Yet once again we single them out over other venues where transmission is occurring at a much higher rate? As the chairman of the Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee, I made it a point to understand the extreme measures that these establishments have put in place. I’ve visited several restaurants and small businesses across the state to understand how they’re keeping their customers and employees safe.

“For the director to scare people away from our local businesses without giving us the information we need to keep ourselves safe is ridiculous. Obviously, it’s a pick and choose game plan. It’s completely targeted and doesn’t match the data. I guess casinos are ok to let people come and go, but not restaurants that have already made thousands of dollars’ worth of investments to provide safe service.

“My constituents are demanding to see the data that lines up with singling out certain industries over others with higher transmission rates. We deserve an explanation on why local food establishments alone are forced to collect and hand over personal information or perhaps close their doors forever.”