Due to virus, restaurants now taking names and phone numbers

November 2, 2020 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — Meals at Michigan restaurants came with a new side dish Monday: What’s your name and phone number?

The latest order kicked in from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s health department. Restaurants must be able to contact customers if there’s a virus case linked to the business.

Michigan’s coronavirus cases have risen significantly, setting a new daily high Saturday at 3,792, the health department said.

The state reported a Sunday-Monday total of 6,709 — an average of 3,354 each day — plus 17 additional deaths.


The Michigan Restaurants & Lodging Association insists COVID-19 transmission doesn’t occur much at restaurants. The group predicts job losses and more financial struggles because of the requirement to get names and phone numbers of diners.

“You have guests that feel it’s intruding on their personal liberties and freedoms, and now we’ve got to be the arbitrator of that,” Jeff Lobdell, president of Restaurant Partners Management, which operates 12 eateries in western Michigan, told WOOD-TV.

Restaurants, bars and other venues must seat no more than six people at a table. The state said indoor settings are much more likely to drive COVID-19 outbreaks than outdoor settings.

The seven-day average of daily new, confirmed cases in Michigan has risen over the past two weeks from 1,379 to 3,113, a record. The seven-day average of daily deaths has increased from 14 to about 25 over the same period, though deaths remain well below the April peak of 157.

The state said 35% of Michigan’s 7,357 COVID-19-related deaths have been people who were at skilled nursing facilities, homes for the elderly or in adult foster care.

Henry Ford Health System reported 177 COVID-19 patients Monday at five hospitals in southeastern Michigan, up 60% compared with a week ago.

Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest medical provider, said it had 239 patients Sunday, compared with 91 on Oct. 3. An additional 38 were suspected to have COVID-19.


AP reporter David Eggert in Lansing, Mich., contributed to this story.