DETROIT - "Give us a curfew, give us reduced capacity, give us something - but let us stay open."
That's Richard from Temperance, located close to Michigan's border it shares with Ohio. It's testimony that he and dozens of other restaurant owners have submitted to the Save Michigan Restaurants website.
With another 12 days of extended restrictions on indoor dining announced Monday, desperation and financial anxiety are setting in around the state. The damage has been most evident among Black-owned businesses.
"There are lives at stake here, but our livelihood is at stake as well," said Stephanie Byrd. "Minorities and Blacks have been far more affected and the government needs to keep that in mind and do something about it."
While she has weathered some of the damage that has hit her industry, it still hasn't been easy.
At the YumVillage in Detroit's New Center Arena, a similar story is being told.
"Most people are doing the best that they can to survive, stay open, and pay bills," said Godwin Ihentuge, owner of the restaurant. "(but the) legislature needs to take it upon themselves to do something to help out businesses."
So far, sales are down 40% for the Afro-Caribbean food locale and Ihentuge has already needed to close shop once before. To shore up some of the losses, he's venturing into merchandising in hopes of generating more revenue.
Across the country, close to 40% of all black-owned businesses have been forced to close - a result of less financial support and a shakier foundation to try and build a business on, COVID-19 has hit minority-owned businesses particularly hard.
And the hits aren't stopping. On Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced an extended period of closures across the state as a means to push the coronavirus curve down as much as possible.
"We warned that on the trajectory we were on we could see 100 deaths a day by Christmas. That was what we were worried about. Now, here we are a few weeks before Christmas and we already are sadly above that mark," said Whitmer.
Health and disease experts advocated for the move Monday when they said the state needed an extension to see meaningful change in COVID-19 trends. Since peaking at almost 10,000 cases in a day in late November, Michigan is seeing its caseloads level out.
But pitfalls surround the falling trend due to surges in hospitalizations.
The restaurant industry has made repeated efforts to keep the state from restricting its operations, arguing any more could lead to the shutdown of 6,000 more restaurants in Michigan.
So far, 2,000 have closed for good since the pandemic began.
Whitmer has argued financial aid from federal and state legislation could fill the gaps left open by her pandemic orders. But that requires compromise with the GOP-controlled legislature and dealmaking between Democrats and Republicans in Congress that this past year has shown to be extraordinarily difficult.
The governor has pushed for $100 million in help for small businesses around the state. But some businesses believe even that won't be enough.