by Scott McClallen
A restaurant survey indicates 74% of respondents supported a required metric-driven plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions.
On Tuesday, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) released a statewide survey indicating public support to resume indoor dining and travel.
The survey also indicated wide support for hospitality workers receiving prioritized vaccination as well as for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to produce a metric-driven plan to retain control over COVID-19 restrictions.
“A clear takeaway from this survey is that Michiganders are beyond ready to get back to the experiences that bring joy and meaning to their lives,” MRLA President and CEO Justin Winslow said in a statement. “As we embark on spring and another Pure Michigan summer, our hospitality leaders are preparing to meet tremendous pent-up demand safely and ask that our patrons do the same so that our success is sustainable.”
The survey found 73.6% of respondents said they believe that “Governor Whitmer or the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services should be required to put forth a comprehensive plan focused on data, metrics and science that clearly demonstrates how decisions are made in relation to COVID-19 restrictions in order to retain unilateral control over the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.”
Other survey highlights include:
- Self-identified Democrats (73.8%) support the requirement of a comprehensive, metric-driven plan to retain control of COVID-19 restrictions even more than Republicans (69.4%).
- More than nine in 10 respondents believe that hospitality workers should have prioritized access to a COVID-19 vaccine, including 97.4% of self-identified Democrats.
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65.7%) have already dined or are comfortable dining in a restaurant right now. Another 9% said they would after vaccination.
- 64% of respondents believe restaurants should be open at 100% capacity indoors now or when vaccines are available to everyone eligible.
- 54% of Michiganders intend to take a vacation that would require an overnight stay in a hotel or similar accommodation in the next six months.
“While restrictions around restaurants, banquets and event occupancy have at times become alarmingly partisan over the past year, this survey data shows overwhelming bipartisan support for the prioritized safety of hospitality workers on the frontline and for greater transparency and accountability in future decision making by the state,” Winslow said. “Michigan restaurant and hotel operators and their team members have suffered disproportionately from this gridlock over the past year and the public clearly believes the hospitality industry deserves real support and actual solutions from their elected officials – not partisan gamesmanship. I hope those in Lansing are listening.”
The MRLA survey data was commissioned as part of the Marketing Resource Group, LLC Spring Poll, conducted on March 18-22 with a 600-person sample and a 4% margin of error.
The survey follows as Michigan’s COVID-19 cases have risen for five weeks, but also, 32% or over 4 million Michiganders are vaccinated.
Michigan ranks behind only New Jersey and New York City for new cases per population over the last seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s unclear if hospitalizations will rise along with case numbers since many most susceptible to dying from COVID-19 have been vaccinated. Nearly 90% or 14,356 of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths stemmed from those ages 60 or older. Of Michigan seniors, 67% have received the first injection.
On Monday, The DeVos Place in Grand Rapids hit a one-day record of administering 12,000 vaccines.
The MRLA represents over 5,000 Michigan food service and lodging establishments.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.