Michigan restaurants will be allowed to open their doors to indoor diners February 1st. Indoor dining has been prohibited by state officials since November to curb the cases of COVID-19 in the community. WEMU’s Lisa Barry talks with Don Knight, the owner of Knight’s Steakhouse with two locations in Ann Arbor and one in Jackson, about his excitement to reopen even with state-imposed restrictions and some changes they’ve made to keep diners healthy.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer had declared that indoor dining can resume with restrictions on February 1st. Among the restrictions are that restaurants can only operate at 25% capacity inside. Even though he was "hoping for 50%," Knight's Steakhouse owner Don Knight is pleased with that amount.
Knight also said it won't be "too hard" to abide by the mandate that customers' contact information must be collected for contact tracing. However, he says that if customers don't want to release that information, they don't have to. Also, with the new, more contagious variant of COVID-19 detected in Washtenaw County, Knight will install a new ventilation system at all three steakhouse locations.
Throughout the pandemic, maintaining his businesses has been difficult for Don Knight. He had to temporarily close the downtown Ann Arbor location and release approximately 90 staff members. Still, outdoor dining and carryout services have kept the restaurants going, but Knight is looking forward to "seeing people again" when indoor dining resumes.
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