Michigan to allow thousands to use Bridge Cards at restaurants

Michigan residents who receive food assistance from the state can use their benefits at restaurants, officials said Tuesday.

The program could give a boost to restaurants that are prohibited from offering indoor dining because of coronavirus restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration.

More than 300,000 people will soon be able to use their Bridge Card to buy discounted meals at restaurants, including 1,200 people who are experiencing homelessness, the health department said.

Restaurants first must enroll with the department, which will publish an online list.

A person holds a Bridge Card in this undated photo. (FOX 2)

"No Michigander should worry about how to put food on the table for themselves and their families, especially during a pandemic," Whitmer said. "This partnership with our restaurants will ensure people across the state have the support they need this winter."

The program is limited to groups who are 60 and over, disabled, or homeless. 

Restaurant owners can also sign up to be on the Restaurant Meal Program on the state's website.

Michigan's Bridge Cards have been a lifeline for many families struggling through the pandemic and earlier this month, the state extended benefits through the end of December for 350,000 households.

Michigan previously approved the additional food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in March – and now that is being extended for the month of December with approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.

People who receive food assistance can check their benefits balance on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/MIBridges or calling a consumer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.