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Restaurant owners do not plan to pause indoor dining after governor’s request

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    SAGINAW, Michigan (WNEM) — EJ Brown, the owner of John’s Bar and Party Store in Munger, said he won’t honor Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request to pause indoor dining for two weeks.

“Pausing indoor dining? I don’t think we can handle that,” Brown said. “We’re just getting back to barely paying the bills every month.”

Whitmer issued her recommendation as positive COVID-19 cases increase throughout the state. Chris Poulos, co-owner of the White Horse Tavern in Flint said he is weighing his options.

“I’m inclined to maybe encourage outdoor dining here. I’ll set my outdoor dining back up and encourage it by maybe offering a discount to eat outdoors,” Poulos said.

Like Brown, Poulos said it is unlikely he will shut down indoor dining.

“What am I going to do with my staff? I just ordered product I just had a whole bunch come in the door. So that would be difficult,” Poulos said.

Saginaw County resident Jimmy Greene said he enjoys eating inside restaurants and has no plans to stop.

“I make up my own determination. If I go into a place and it doesn’t look safe or if I see people not practicing safe protocols I walk out. On the other hand, if I see people that care about oxygen and life as much as I do, I sit down, I dine, and I’m ok,” Greene said.

For his part, Brown doesn’t think Whitmer’s request will hold much weight. He wonders if a state mandate regarding indoor dining is around the corner.

“I certainly don’t want to have to be in her shoes to make these hard decisions but when it’s a voluntary situation like this I’m afraid you’re going to see a vast majority of people around the state not adhere to a recommendation,” Brown said.

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