Survey finds a third of Michigan restaurants likely to close in next 6 months without financial help

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. 

"That doesn't account for the other restaurants already closed back post-COVID-19, so the number is even higher," said Paul Wegert, the managing director at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth. About 2,000 Michigan restaurants have already closed.

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

FOX 2 spoke to Wegert in September about fighting to survive the impact of COVID 19. Three months later, the update on the luxury hotel and golf course is not good. 

"It's still slow. It's getting worse," Wegert said. 

And if the MRLA data sounds grim, the research also reveals that about 850 hotels across the state will only be able to survive six more months at current revenue and occupancy levels without any additional financial support from the government. That accounts for two-thirds of all hotels in the state.

"That's 60% of hotels that will probably go into foreclosure if they can't get help here with the stimulus package," Wegert said. 

Staff members who once filled the Inn at St. John's are also gone as they wait to be called back to work.

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," Wegert said. "But here we are." 

Business owners and the MRLA want lawmakers to understand that stimulus money provided months ago has been stretched as for as it can go.

"It's gone," he said. "It's been gone."