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Published in Economic Development
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Gov. Gretchen Whitmer COURTESY PHOTO

State plans second liquor buyback program, unveils Restaurant Meal Program to aid reeling restaurant industry

BY Tuesday, December 22, 2020 04:17pm

The state plans to hold another liquor buyback for bars and restaurants.

A similar effort earlier this year by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) bought back $3.4 million in spirits from 673 liquor license holders, for an average of a little more than $5,000 per each bar and restaurant that was closed or had limited operations during the COVID-019 pandemic.

“We are thankful for these programs because any kind of assistance helps our struggling industry,” executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association Scott Ellis said in a news release issued by the governor’s office. “Our number one goal is to get businesses open, which is why we urge Michiganders to do everything they can to end this pandemic.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said today the state also will allow those who receive SNAP food assistance to use their benefits to buy meals prepared at restaurants. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) opened the program for restaurants to enroll “with the aim of providing diverse and affordable options for eligible participants across the state.”

Restaurants can learn more about the Restaurant Meal Program and enroll at the MDHHS website.

Both initiatives followed the Legislature’s passage of a $465.1 million state aid package a day earlier that includes funding for grants to ailing small businesses and entertainment venues that were closed or had their operations limited by state orders.

Of that aid, $55 million will go to small business grants through the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), working with 15 local and nonprofit economic development corporations in the state. Another $3.5 million in grants through the MSF will go to eligible entertainment venues.

The governor today also announced another $2 million for an eviction diversion program.

“As we head into another Michigan winter, I’ll continue to do everything I can to support our families and small businesses,” Whitmer said. “These actions will ensure that families have the support they need to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads this winter, as well as provide support to local restaurants and small business owners all over the state that are struggling as a result of the pandemic.”

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