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Michigan restaurants project April losses of $1.2 billion

Scott Pohl
While restaurants like Charlie's in Dimondale are open for carry-out service, more than half of Michigan restaurants have closed.

A survey finds that Michigan restaurants anticipate losses of $1.2-billion dollars in April.

The survey, conducted by the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association reveals that more than half of the state’s restaurants are closed, either temporarily or permanently, due to the impact of COVID-19.

Justin Winslow, President and CEO of the association, says more than three-quarters of Michigan’s restaurant work force is unemployed. “It’s worse than the national average, which is about two-thirds of the industry being unemployed," states Winslow. "This industry is feeling it. The workers in this industry are feeling it more acutely here in Michigan.”

Winslow describes the state’s restaurant and lodging industries as “too big to fail," adding “it’s a lot of very small businesses across the board, over 18,000 restaurants and hotels, but combined make almost 10-percent of the entire revenue that this state generates. They hire and employ more than 12-and-a-half, or one in eight you’d say, people that work in the state of Michigan, period.”

The survey found that nearly a quarter-million restaurant workers in the state have been furloughed or laid off. Additionally, 87,000 lodging employees have lost their jobs.