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Michigan Licensed Beverage Association

Serving Liquor Licensees Since 1939

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Mason Doerr  | Published on 5/1/2020

Last night, Governor Whitmer issued three new executive orders that will keep Michigan under a state of emergency through May 28. Yesterday, the Republican-led legislature refused to extend Whitmer’s previous emergency declarations.

Executive Order 2020-66 ends the existing state of emergency that was issued by the governor under the Emergency Management Act of 1976. 

Executive Order 2020-67 states that Michigan remains under a state of emergency via the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. 

Executive Order 2020-68 declares a new state of emergency under the Emergency Management Act through May 28.

“Today I signed new emergency and disaster declarations using independent sources of statutory authority to make sure our health care workers and first responders have the tools they need to save lives and protect Michiganders,” Whitmer said in a statement.

The ramifications of the new order on the hospitality industry and Michigan economy will be devastating. If bars and restaurants are shuttered through May 28, that will be two-and-a-half months with no revenue but continued bills and other expenses.

“If we’re going to be closed for another month, the governor needs to send our industry some more financial support immediately — there can be no more waiting around for money to come whenever the state decides to send it,” Ellis said. “We were the first industry to close and we’ll be the last to open. It’s time for the governor to show us the attention we deserve by extending some sort of silver lining.”

Yesterday, SB 858, which challenges the governor’s ability to keep extending her emergency extensions, passed the House with a substitute. The bill will now go back to the Senate and will likely be voted on next week. The governor is likely to veto this bill. If vetoed, the bill will need to pass both the House and Senate with a supermajority to bypass the governor’s veto.

The MLBA is supportive of SB 858, which would open many businesses, including bars and restaurants, on May 15.

“The governor’s extension of the shutdown until May 28 is unnecessary,” said MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis. “At a minimum, bars and restaurants should be able to open in some capacity by May 15.”

“Our people in the hospitality industry are responsible. We’ve been following rules and strict guidelines forever, no other industry is more prepared to reopen than we are,” Ellis said. “We are supportive of opening with social distancing restrictions as long as there is not a mandated occupancy restriction.”

The MLBA will continue to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to pass SB 858.