Published in Food/Agribusiness

De-escalation training available for bar, restaurant employees following mask mandate

BY MIBIZ STAFF Tuesday, July 14, 2020 04:28pm

The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association has launched a training program for bar and restaurant employees on how to properly de-escalate disputes with customers over pandemic-related restrictions.

“We have always had material on how to deal with disturbances in our server training classes, but now we’re moving into de-escalation training to avoid situations before they turn into disturbances,” MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis said in a statement. “Having retired from law enforcement myself, I know the importance of being able to handle a situation through proper communication before it gets out of hand. This is especially important for an industry that sells alcohol.”

LBA Executive Director Scott Ellis COURTESY PHOTO

The MLBA is a nonprofit trade group representing liquor licensees in Michigan. The training will be offered through Techniques of Alcohol Management, the group’s educational arm, in partnership with Keene Training and Consulting, whose instructors have law enforcement backgrounds.

An executive order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that took effect Monday requires people to wear masks in public indoor spaces as well as large outdoor gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has seen an uptick over the past week. 

The MLBA was supportive of Whitmer’s order, and says the de-escalation training comes at a crucial time.

“We’ve been working on putting a course together for quite some time because we want to give bartenders and servers, those on the frontline of the hospitality industry and of this mandatory requirement, the ability to resolve situations and avoid making an incident worse,” Ellis said. “Society is upset right now and we want our people to be safe.”

Today, Whitmer extended the state of emergency and disaster declaration until Aug. 11, citing growing daily COVID-19 counts that now exceed 20 cases per million in the Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo regions. 

“Throughout this crisis, the vast majority of Michiganders have done their part, but we must remain vigilant and continue to do everything we can to protect our loved ones,” Whitmer said in a statement. “That means wearing a mask over your mouth and nose and practicing safe physical distancing when going out in public. … Be smart, be safe, and mask up.” 

As of Tuesday, Michigan had 70,306 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 584 cases from the previous day. The death toll from the virus stood at 6,081 people, according to the state. 

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