VanderWall testifies in support of relief for restaurants and bars

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Curt VanderWall on Tuesday testified before a Senate panel in support of his bills to provide relief to businesses affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“The orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her administration over the past year have devastated restaurants, bars and similar businesses,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “These measures can provide some financial relief to those who are suffering.”

Senate Bills 353 and 354 would waive renewal fees for restaurants, grocers and other food service establishments for license applications submitted between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

SB 230, sponsored by Sen. Ed McBroom, would waive license fees for bars, brewpubs and similar businesses that sell beer, wine and liquor.

VanderWall pointed out that some of the governor’s executive orders and emergency orders issued by the Department of Health and Human Services have prohibited all indoor dining, recreation and alcohol sales and prohibited bars, restaurants and other food establishments from operating during the time the orders were in place.

“Many of the license holders that have been most affected have been small businesses — which are the backbone of the American economy,” VanderWall said. “This has caused lost income for everyone involved with these businesses — from owners to servers, to cooks and dishwashers. To avoid adding insult to injury, the state and local governments should waive the fees and help preserve whatever capital is remaining to get these businesses back up and running.”

The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee will hear further testimony on SBs 230, 353 and 354 in the coming weeks.