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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

State Rep. Greg Markkanen disappointed in dining ban extension

A press conference at the state capitol Wednesday has bar and restaurant owners feeling nauseous. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Kaldun announced an extension to the indoor dining ban which has been in place since November. The prohibition will remain in effect until at least February 1st.

Governor Whitmer tried to soften the blow by highlighting work of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to get relief funds to businesses and employees who desperately need it. State Representative Greg Markkanen, from Hancock, says the governor’s philosophy of providing for citizens rather than letting them earn a living is the problem.

These people don’t want a handout. They want to open up and they want to open up safely. They want to restart their businesses and that’s one thing the governor just doesn’t understand.

Markkanen expressed frustration at the continuing extensions of the Epidemic Order. He says that what could be prudent policy for urban areas like Metro Detroit or Grand Rapids is unnecessary for the smaller towns and cities of the Upper Peninsula.

We thought we had a regional agreement, a regional plan together where we could open up areas that had low numbers and keep restrictions on areas with high numbers. This “one size fits all” across the state is just not practical for the people of Michigan.

COVID-19 infection rates are significantly below levels seen in November when the order went into effect. That pattern has been consistent across Midwestern states, but the Whitmer administration says its policies have kept infection rates significantly below Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and others.

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