The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce has urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and
state lawmakers to authorize a full reopening of event and meeting venues in Michigan. Currently, venues are limited to a 10-person threshold, while other industries are allowed safe gatherings of 100 guests at a time.
There is serious concern about the economic impact if things don’t return to semi-normal soon. In a letter to the governor and state Sen. Curtis Hertel, chair of the Capitol Caucus, the chamber said the industry needs “immediate action to survive.”
“Meeting and event venues make a massive contribution to the economic vitality of numerous vendors, fills hotels and attracts visitors to nearby amenities in our communities,” Tim Daman, president and CEO of the chamber, said in a letter. “The current limitations are having a devastating impact on businesses and livelihoods across Michigan.”
The letter to the governor and Capitol Caucus noted that the loss of meetings and events since the COVID-19 pandemic had caused an estimated loss of over $100 million in economic impact.
Before the pandemic, the Greater Lansing region supported over 11,000 hospitality-related jobs.
“With increasing vaccination levels and a declining number of cases, almost all other sectors of the economy have been allowed to return to work and support themselves,” said Daman. “All this industry is asking for is the same opportunity.”
In writing the letter, the chamber it is joining with its partners at the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau and many small businesses that own and operate meeting and event venues in requesting immediate action to allow the sites to serve their guests safely. The letters also note the hospitality industry has established best practices to adapt to public health requirements and is prepared to reopen at increased capacity levels.