After several weeks of rising COVID-19 cases and deaths, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, using powers granted to the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services, banned indoor dining on Nov. 18, 2020. The ban remained in place until Feb. 1, 2021.
This report estimates the costs of that policy, in terms of employment losses in the restaurant and bar industry. It finds that employment fell by 23% in this sector over the period, significantly more than any other Midwestern states, including those that also temporarily banned indoor dining.
The report also highlights other costs associated with lockdown policies and assesses whether their purported benefits outweigh these costs. It documents that policies such as these were not recommended by prominent public health organizations prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that comparing data among states that did not pursue similar policies does not appear to justify these unprecedented policies.