Indoor Dining to Resume in Michigan, DC Restaurants at 25 Percent Capacity

January 22, 2021 Updated: January 22, 2021

Michigan and Washington D.C. are lifting some restrictions to allow restaurants to resume indoor dining at 25 percent capacity.

In Michigan, bars and restaurants will be allowed to provide indoor services to up to 100 people starting Feb. 1 through Feb 21. Tables will have to be six feet apart with a maximum of six people per table, and they must close at or before 10 p.m.

The announcement was made by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday.

“The science around this virus is settled, and if we can all wear masks and be very smart about congregating, and not do it unless it’s necessary, washing our hands, doing that social distancing, we will be in a strong position in a few weeks,” Whitmer, a Democrat, said at a press conference. “And we’ll be able to do more. That’s the hope.”

“But the reality of this moment is that wearing masks and being smart is going to have to be how we operate for quite a while.”

Whitmer added that the indoor ban worked in preventing the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

“The pause has worked,” she said. “The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers, and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives.”

The owner of “Mario’s,” a popular Italian restaurant in Detroit, Vince Passalacqua, was happy about the announcement.

“Of course we’re happy to be open,” Passalacqua told The Detroit News. “It’s been a struggle just doing carryouts. Twenty-five percent (capacity) is better than nothing, but I think it’s a little overboard.”

He added that other states with higher reports of infections didn’t have as severe restrictions as Michigan. “It’s been driving consumers crazy over here because they weren’t given the choice to eat in a restaurant,” he said.

Whitmer’s announcement comes after the chief of staff to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, announced on Twitter that the city’s indoor dining ban would be lifted on Friday at 5 a.m., allowing restaurants to operate at 25 percent capacity or no more than 250 people, whichever is fewer.

The indoor dining ban was imposed on Dec. 23, 2020.

Museums can also open with a maximum of 250 people on a floor at a given time.

According to the Washington Post, Maryland’s Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said on Jan. 21 that his county, located adjacent to Washington D.C., would not lift the ban.

“We have fallen from peaks of 500, but we are not where we need to be,” Elrich said. “If we would all just be patient, we can get our cases down.”