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Upper Peninsula lawmakers resent restaurant restrictions

State Senator Ed McBroom and three Upper Peninsula representatives issued a statement late Thursday against the extension of the 10 PM curfew and capacity limits for indoor dining until March 31st. The legislators are particularly angry that the restrictions were slipped into the order allowing for a resumption of high school sports.

Our representative, Greg Markkanen, says that the recent snowfall makes it even more damaging to keep a lid on activity. The area is swarming with skiers, snowmobilers, and other winter sports enthusiasts. Restaurants would normally be some of the biggest beneficiaries, especially considering that Northern Wisconsin and much of the rest of the Western UP has not shared in the bounty of “white gold.”

We want our businesses opened up, so we can benefit from all this snow we are having.

Opposition to the recent restaurant ban has been a bipartisan affair in the region. Markkanen says there’s only one state senator and a handful of representatives, so it is critical to reach across the aisle and present a unified voice on important issues when possible.

Working together is just — it allows us to get things done and to have a louder voice in the House and Senate. We don’t agree on everything, but we do agree on how to keep the UP moving forward.

You can see the full release below.

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Sen. Ed McBroom and Reps. Beau LaFave, Greg Markkanen, and John Damoose released the following joint statement on Thursday blasting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s quiet extension of 10 p.m. curfews, 25% restaurant capacity limitations, and restrictions on gatherings in private residences:

“Under the guise of resuming contact sports, the Whitmer administration — without announcement or specificity — quietly extended its arbitrary restrictions on restaurants and private gatherings announced earlier this month, for a total of two months. This cunning move, made apparent yesterday, caught many restauranteurs and patrons off guard, as the original restrictions were slated to end Sunday.

“Because of the administration’s failure to highlight this action in any recent press release or conference, restaurants planning to resume normal capacity on Sunday now must plan for at least 40 more days of disruptions, lost revenue, and limited service — all based on inconsistent or uncompelling data.

“The administration continues to use the improved numbers as proof to prolong its unilateral actions while ignoring the clear trends that preceded its actions and the successful rollbacks undertaken in other states. The governor also fails to explain how our state, with such a high level of restrictions, has emerged with worse overall results than many other states with fewer restrictions.

“The continued untransparent, suffocative, and heavy-handed style of governance from the executive branch must end now. It is high time for Michigan to join every other neighboring state in easing restrictions and resuming normal operations. Gov. Whitmer must stop her unilateral rule and work with the only lawmaking body — the Legislature — to accomplish this.”

The lawmakers encouraged residents wishing to share their thoughts on the recent extension order to email the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at COVID19@michigan.gov.

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