Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) declared “Small Business Week” after her response to the coronavirus crushed small businesses.
“Michigan is home to thousands of small businesses that are the backbone of our communities,” Whitmer said in a news release Friday at the tail end of “Small Business Week.”
“Small businesses support the economy, add vibrancy to our communities, and provide hundreds of thousands of jobs across Michigan,” she claimed.
“They have been so resilient through the pandemic and I am committed to getting them the support they need as we build our economy back better,” she added, a play on President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” campaign mantra.
But Whitmer’s response to the pandemic crushed small businesses in the state.
In December, Michigan Capitol Confidential reported over one-third — 35.8 percent — of Michigan’s small businesses closed in 2020, far higher than the national average of 28.9 percent.
That month, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) said 5,600 restaurant operators predicted they would not be in business in six months if the lockdown continued.
Forty-eight percent said they were considering temporarily closing their restaurants until the pandemic passed. Many attempted to stay afloat by offering takeout service.
Additionally, 52 percent of hotel owners said they were in danger of foreclosure. Sixty-three percent said less than half of their employees were working full time.
“The data is settled,” Justin Winslow, President & CEO of the MRLA, said in a release:
It is fundamentally clear that the pandemic is decimating the hospitality industry in this state to a degree never seen or even imagined. While it will take several years and a stable economy to reclaim the size, impact and opportunities produced by this industry, we have not yet reached the bottom.
Whitmer extended crippling closure orders after she feared a post-Thanksgiving virus surge that never materialized.
An April report, titled, “The Costs of Michigan’s Second Lockdown,” published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said:
Michigan’s employment losses in restaurants and bars were by far the largest in the Midwest from fall 2020 through early winter 2021. Jobs in the sector decreased by 23% from October through January, representing more than 64,000 jobs.
In the weeks following the November 18 lockdown — which Whitmer claimed would only last three weeks — hospitality industry jobs plunged by 49.6 percent.
Since January 2020, low wage earners have been hit particularly hard. According to Opportunity Insights, employment among low wage earners — those make less than $27,000 a year — has fallen 20.1 percent.
In May, the Republican Governors Association began circulating “Fire the Damn Governor” coasters to Michigan bars and restaurants. They said over 392,000 jobs have been lost in the state due to Whitmer’s policies.