Data shows grim future for Mich. restaurants, survey finds Black voters hesitant on vaccine, a snowy Wednesday

A new report from the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association shows just how dire the outlook is for the hospitality industry in the state amid COVID-19

Through a survey, MRLA found that nearly 6,000 restaurants - or a third of Michigan restaurants - are likely to close permanently in six months if they do not receive any financial assistance from the government. 

The research also reveals the same future is in the cards for about 850 hotels. That accounts for two-thirds of all hotels in the state.

As restaurants and hotels look for creative ways to survive, they realize they can't keep cutting prices. 

"If you would ask me two years ago if I would sell rooms at $89 I would have said no," said Paul Wegert, the managing director at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth. "But here we are." 

"Our industry has never seen this. We've never, ever once taken a hit like this," he said.

Only a third of Black voters in Michigan say they'll take the COVID-19 vaccine

Black Michigan voters are among the most hesitant groups of people to say they will take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available, despite the pandemic's disproportionate health and economic effects it's had on minority groups.

Only a third of Black voters said they would take the coronavirus vaccine, one of the most striking figures from a new Detroit Regional Chamber survey released Tuesday looking at public opinion of the pandemic and economy.

Despite the hesitancy from minority demographics, a majority of Michiganders say they will take the coronavirus vaccine, an overall increase from a previous survey conducted in late October.

But the hesitancy of nearly 45% of the state and almost 67% of Black voters in Michigan underscores just how difficult it will be to effectively administer a vaccine to the state.

"The reluctance reflects the mistrust caused by past governmental abuse related to vaccines and public health trials," read part of the DRC survey.

Black residents were among the hardest-hit demographics when the pandemic first surged into the state, killing and causing severe side effects at a disproportionate rate compared to white residents. The state of Michigan has worked to reduce that disparity by increasing access to testing in poorer communities.

Gov. Whitmer joins governors across the Midwest urging everyone to stay safe this holiday season

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke Tuesday afternoon on the state of COVID-19, just hours after the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered across the country and in the state. 

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved for emergency use authorization last week and now the first doses are being administered across the county. In Michigan, the University of Michigan Medicine and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids were the first to give vaccines on Monday.

Gov. Whitmer on Tuesday joined a group of governors across the Midwest in urging everyone across the region to remain safe heading into the holiday season.

“This may be the most difficult time yet in our struggle with COVID-19, especially with the holidays approaching. Until the vaccine is available to everyone and until we eradicate this virus once and for all, we must continue working to protect one another,” the governors said. “The science is settled: The best way we can protect our frontline workers and slow the spread of this virus is to double down on mask wearing, social distancing, and washing hands frequently. If you are planning to travel or gather with other households for the holidays – we urge you to reconsider. Just one infection can cause an outbreak in your community, which could overwhelm our hospitals and put you and your loved ones at risk. We owe it to the brave men and women serving on the front lines of this pandemic to do our part and be smart this holiday season.” 

Daily Forecast

Light snow breaks out across southeast Michigan throughout Wednesday morning.

Other Stories

1. Police in Canton are investigating how an 8-year-old boy was shot inside a home Tuesday afternoon when a gun discharged. 

2.  A middle school basketball coach in Oakland County is facing charges after he allegedly beat his fiancee and took their baby. The woman is hospitalized with critical injuries and will need facial reconstruction. 

3. The Livingston County Sheriff's Office is asking for help to find a missing 29-year-old woman named Kayla Pierce who hasn't been seen since November. Her car was recently found in Detroit.

4. The top priest of a prestigious Catholic high school in Oakland County, Orchard Lake St. Mary's, is accused in a lawsuit of hosting sex parties off-campus and on-campus and of allegedly sexually assaulted his employees - including two other priests.

5. Police have identified a suspect in the gruesome murder on a former Navy vessel in Port Huron. Police are looking for 43-year-old Reginald Grasty of Detroit.

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Biden to nominate former Michigan governor Granholm to lead Dept of Energy

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to pick former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as energy secretary, according to sources with the Associated Press.

Granholm, 61, was the first woman to serve as Governor of Michigan and served from 2003 to 2011. The Democrat, who was originally born in Vancouver, British Columbia, has taught at UC Berkeley and been a television pundit since holding office.

From 1999 to 2003, Granholm built a popular base of support as Michigan's attorney general. 

In recent years, she was a supporter of Biden's presidential bid and has spoken out against President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the election results, accusing him of "poisoning democracy."

Biden is also expected to pick his former rival Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation

Buttigieg, 38, would be the first openly gay person confirmed by the Senate to a Cabinet post.