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Michigan Licensed Beverage Association

Serving Liquor Licensees Since 1939

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Mason Doerr  | Published on 7/2/2020

This morning, Governor Whitmer signed a relief package to help bars and restaurants. This afternoon, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order that will close many bars forever.

The executive order calls for the immediate closure of indoor service at bars whose gross receipts total 70 percent or more from alcohol sales in every region except 6 and 8.


“The governor has effectively hurt every local small-town bar in the state – establishments that aren’t the bad actors,” said MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis. “Instead of focusing on problem bars or problem areas, she’s going to kill businesses that are abiding by all of the rules and still struggling to survive. It seems like 70 was chosen as an arbitrary percentage that holds no validity in terms of safety.”

The executive order allows establishments with more than 70 percent of their revenue in alcohol sales to remain open for carry-out service and service in outdoor areas.

“The announcement was not followed by any plan to help these establishments. No further relief, no assistance, no funding, no aid,” Ellis said. “Now, places that required masks, ensured social distancing and invested in remodeling their establishments to be safe for patrons have been altogether cheated.”

Despite the governor stating that bars will not have to close down completely, the MLBA believes the majority of the businesses that fall into this category will have no other choice, stating that selling carry-out food and drinks to go is not a viable business model.

“People who were eager to travel and visit their favorite local bars during the Fourth of July holiday just had their plans completely derailed,” Ellis said. “We understand the importance of safety during these unprecedented times, but it now seems that following the rules precisely isn’t enough, but selling food is.”

We are asking all members to call the Governor’s Office to file a complaint. Please do so by calling the following numbers: 517-373-3400 and  517-335-7858.


Executive Order No. 2020-143

Closing indoor service at bars

  1. Food service establishments, as defined in section 1107(t) of the Michigan Food Law, 2000 PA 92, as amended, MCL 289.1107(t), that hold on-premises retailer licenses to sell alcoholic beverages must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.
  2. Any food service establishment that serves alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption must, both indoors and outdoors:
    1. Require patrons to wear a face covering except when seated at their table or bar top (unless the patron is unable medically to tolerate a face covering);
    2. Require patrons to remain seated at their tables or bar tops, except to enter or exit the premises, to order food, or to use the restroom;
    3. Sell alcoholic beverages only via table service, not via orders at the bar except to patrons seated at the bar;
    4. Prohibit access to common areas in which people can congregate, dance, or otherwise mingle; and
    5. Follow all of the applicable workplace safeguards established in Executive Order 2020-114 and any order that may follow from it, including the provisions limiting capacity to 50% of normal seating and requiring six feet of separation between 4 parties or groups at different tables or bar tops
  3. Food service establishments that are closed for indoor service under section 1 of this order but open for outdoor service must:
    1. Prohibit patrons from entering the establishment, except to walk through in order to access the outdoor area, to leave the establishment, or to use the restroom; and
    2. Require patrons to wear a face covering while inside, except for patrons who are unable medically to tolerate a face covering.
  4. Dance and topless activity permits issued under subsections 2 or 3 of section 916 of the Michigan Liquor Control Code, 1998 PA 58, as amended, MCL 436.1916(2) and (3), are temporarily suspended. Combination dance–entertainment permits and topless activity–entertainment permits issued under subsection 4 of section 916 of the Michigan Liquor Control Code, MCL 436.1916(4), are suspended to the extent they allow dancing and topless activity, but remain valid to the extent they allow other entertainment.
  5. In enforcing the Michigan Liquor Control Code, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission will consider whether the public health, safety or welfare requires summary, temporary suspension of a license under section 92 of the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, as amended, MCL 24.292(2).
  6. For purposes of calculating its percentage of gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages under section 1, a food service establishment must use:
    1. Gross receipts from 2019; or
    2. If the establishment was not in operation in 2019, gross receipts from the date the establishment opened in 2020.
  7. Nothing in this order should be taken to prevent food service establishments from selling alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption to patrons who are not seated at a table, or to require such patrons to remain seated when ordering such beverages.
  8. Nothing in this order should be taken to prevent the holder of a social district license under section 551 of the Michigan Liquor Control Code, 1998 PA 58, as amended by Enrolled House Bill 5781 (100th Legislature, Regular Session of 2020), to be codified at MCL 436.1551:
    1. From selling alcoholic beverages for consumption in a commons area within a designated social district to patrons who are not seated at a table; or
    2. To require such patrons to remain seated when ordering such beverages.
  9. Nothing in this order should be taken to limit the authority of local health departments to adopt more stringent measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 at food service establishments.
  10. This order does not apply in Regions 6 and 8, as those regions are defined by section 1 of Executive Order 2020-110 or any order that follows from it.
  11. This order takes effect at 11:00 pm on July 1, 2020.
  12. Consistent with MCL 10.33 and MCL 30.405(3), a willful violation of this order is a misdemeanor.