Michigan Restaurant Owner Calls Out Dems on Shutdowns: “I think there’s a different agenda that the Democratic governors have”

By Leisa Audette | Dec 7, 2020

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and other key Democratic governors are killing the restaurant industry. It all would make sense if the hair salons, health clubs, and retail stores in the state were closed. Whitmer just extended the shutdown of restaurants until December 20th, but with her track record, it will probably be extended past Christmas. During her press conference this afternoon, Whitmer had this to say about Christmas:

“No matter what we show in the next 12 days, I am discouraging people from gathering for Christmas. It doesn’t mean we cancel Christmas, it means we celebrate in a responsible way and we make our plans now to do that.”

Last week, Crain’s Business published a heartbreaking letter from Rosalie Vicari (see below) telling the story of how the restaurant group had to lay off 700 employees during the lockdown. Neil Cavuto interviewed Joe and Rosalie Vicari today where they called out the governors for their “agenda” during the lockdown.

Joe Vicari Restaurant Group owners Joe & Rosalie Vicari on Michigan Governor Whitmer extending the ban on indoor dining:

“We don’t feel there’s any rhyme or reason to this.”

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This is heartbreaking and unnecessary.

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The popular Andiamo restaurants in Michigan have been around for decades providing delicious Italian food in an elegant but welcoming atmosphere. The family-owned business has been hit hard by the tyrannical lockdowns of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She is singlehandedly killing off the restaurant industry in Michigan. The recent three-week shutdown came after a shutdown that lasted from March to June. How much more can these restaurants take?

The Vicari family is known for giving back to their community, so it would be a big loss if they shuttered. If they go down, hundreds of employees and vendors will disappear too. The successful restaurants they’ve built over 30 years are dying due to the ridiculous lockdowns that have been going on for months, and they’re ready to fight back. Could this be the spark that is needed to stop the lockdown madness in Michigan?

Andiamo owners Joe and Rosalie Vicari are FED UP with the overreaching orders by Governor Whitmer, so they spoke out in a letter to Crain’s Business that restaurants need to unite and fight back:

My husband, Joe, and I have been in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years. We own and operate over 20 restaurants in metro Detroit, including Andiamo and Joe Muer Seafood.

We have endured many economic challenges, such as the recession of 2008. We have always worked hard to overcome economic and social trends to stay relevant in this business.

Most recently, however, we have faced our most difficult challenge.

Last week Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a three-week “pause” for dine-in service for restaurants.

Such a simple, little word with such devastating implications.

What exactly does a “pause” look like for people who work in the restaurant industry? I will break it down in the course of one day, so people can understand the gravity of what that little word actually means to thousands of people who work in this industry.

On Nov. 13, the Friday before the “pause” started, Joe Muer Seafood in Bloomfield Hills had three managers, 14 servers, seven server assistants, four bartenders, three hostesses, one head chef, one sous chef, eight line cooks, two prep cooks, four dishwashers — 47 people worked, and 47 people got paid.

One week later, Joe Muer Seafood had one manager, one head chef, one line cook, and one server. Four people worked, and four people got paid.

This is what a “pause” looks like: 43 fewer people worked, and 43 fewer people got paid.

This is going to happen every day for the rest of the three-week “pause.” This is happening at every restaurant in Michigan, whether you are Joe Muer Seafood or American Coney Island.

The loss of wages for the thousands of workers in the restaurant industry will devastate families and our economy. The thousands of restaurant workers flooding our unemployment system will devastate an already challenged unemployment system. The Joe Vicari Restaurant Group will sadly have to lay off almost 700 people.

But it does not stop there. All of our vendors will be suffering, too. Our meat and seafood vendors, produce vendors, bread vendors, coffee, liquor, and wine vendors will all be met with purchase orders that are a fraction of what they normally are or with no purchase orders at all. This will lead to certain layoffs or furloughs in all the above industries.

Recently, several restaurants defied the state’s three-week pause. On Friday, Michigan agencies announced citations were issued and liquor licenses suspended at several restaurants for violating the order to close down:

ABC reports:

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission fined several restaurants and suspended liquor licenses after keeping their dine-in facilities open during the statewide shutdown.

The Meeting Place in Fenton had its license to sell alcoholic beverages suspended. The Big Boy in Sandusky received a $5,000 fine, while The Meeting Place and Woodchips BBQ in Lapeer were fined $1,000.

The Meeting Place and Woodchips kept their indoor dining rooms open after the Michigan Department of Health. Human Services issued an epidemic order on Nov. 18 requiring all restaurants and bars close to dine-in service. They can remain open only for carryout or drive-through service until Dec. 9.

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