Group of Mich. doctors urge restaurants not to reopen too soon

Michigan bars and restaurants lost their legal battle Wednesday that challenged the state's ban on indoor dining.

While those businesses warn of job losses and closures, a group of Michigan doctors is concerned about what would happen if restaurants are allowed to reopen sooner rather than later during the COVID-19 pandemic

A group of Michigan doctors banned together under the name Committee to Protect Medicare to offer a viewpoint in the name of public safety that calls for restaurants to not defy the order under any circumstance. The doctors are speaking out after the owners of Andiamo sent a letter to area restaurants questioning what to do if a state order that puts a ban on indoor dining is extended beyond December 8.

"We’ve seen the ravages of this disease," said Dr. Ijeoma Opara. "Which is why we are asking that they continue to be closed down until we get pandemic under better control."

On Wednesday, a judge rejected the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association’s lawsuit that attempted to overturn the indoor dining ban. Currently, the ban ends next Tuesday but this doctor believes, based on data, that it should be extended.

"I would say that, given the numbers on what we're seeing, it would be a good idea to do that," she said. 

Dr. Opara works at a hospital in Detroit which she won’t identify but calls the situation there dire.

"We are admitting more and more. We are seeing our census go up. One of our hospitals now is full," she said. 

Meanwhile, restaurant owners across metro Detroit are concerned about business. Management at Red Olive in Ferndale, for example, says they can’t survive if they don’t get back to business.

"Easily 50% business we’ve lost, some days even more than that," said Jared Kopiczko. "Unfortunately it’s looking like we’re not going to be able to reopen on the 8th and we're going to lose a lot of money out of that."

This committee of doctors understands the financial stress caused by the COVID-19 outbreak but they stress they want people to survive so they can see the other side of it.

"This is not a disease to be trifled with. We all have to pull together as a community," Dr. Opara said.