Under Governor Whitmer’s current stay-at-home order, Michigan residents are dining in more frequently. This has created added demand on grocery stores, whose shelves have become emptier.
The increased need brought about a new partnership between the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).
Together the organizations are coordinating food labeling training for restaurants to prepare for retail sale. Michigan restaurants are already trained in food safety and sanitation. The new training enables restaurants to sell food and pantry items directly to the public.
“Having restaurants sell typical grocery items will help support the extremely taxed grocery stores and provide customers with access to the essential food supplies they need during the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order issued by Governor Whitmer,” says Justin Winslow, MRLA President and CEO.
“Michigan restaurants are facing the COVID-19 crisis head-on and ensuring Michiganders have access to safe food. Grocery stores are overwhelmed with unprecedented demand. The food supply chain for the restaurant industry is, vetted, reliable and a great resource to supplement traditional grocery stores.”
MDARD Director, Gary McDowell, says necessity breeds innovation.
“When Michigan distilleries say they can change their operations to make much-needed hand sanitizer, MDARD paves the regulatory road and gets out of the way…and when restaurants tell us they have excess food coming in that could be sold directly to consumers, we work with MRLA to help get that done.”
Enabling restaurants to sell retail items is designed to help restaurants stay afloat, keep the supply chain moving, and offer more options for Michigan residents amid the coronavirus crisis.
Governor Whitmer says,
“This partnership is yet another example of how our businesses and our state agencies have worked together to solve problems quickly, not only for the industry, but also for Michigan consumers.”
The MRLA has provided the guidance documents on its website for all industry members seeking to provide support to the grocery stores. For access to the documents, visit www.mrla.org/coronavirus.html.
Food service operations can find free ServSafe food safety training specific to take-out and delivery services that provides specific resources for keeping food safe amidst the coronavirus outbreak.