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Michigan restaurants hopeful to survive second wave of COVID-19 restrictions

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IRONWOOD, MI. -- We're just hours away from another shutdown in Michigan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the new restrictions Sunday that include no indoor dining, distance learning for high school and college students, and movie theatres and casinos shutting down.

It starts at midnight Tuesday and is set to last for at least three weeks.

Child care centers, hair salons, and preschool through eighth-grade schools can still operate, along with gyms for individual workouts.

"We made it back then, and we can do it now," said Bridget Hitter, a waitress at Manny's in Ironwood.

As bars and restaurants are once again being asked to stop dine-in services, business owners are hoping they can survive another temporary closure.

"Just to be back another three months in your same year, it does affect business. It affects everybody but we just have to keep doing what we are doing," said Hitter.

Manuel Ursini, the owner, says the popularity of their Italian food will help them stay, despite only serving take out.

"We've been here for 28 years. We are known all around about being around. The newer places are the ones that really should be in trouble," said Ursini.

But city leaders are urging that if you want your favorite restaurant to survive to continue to order take-out and delivery.

"Participation is going to save and keep businesses going," said Michael Meyer, the executive director for the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce.

Meyer said they are seeing 10 new cases in Gogebic County each day, and hopes these new restrictions will slow the spread, like the lockdown in March did.

"The Michigan numbers went down. People complained but they went down. We certainly up here in March and April and May and June we might have had four to five cases a month. It was very successful. That initial lockdown," said Meyer.

Michigan recorded more than 7,400 new cases Tuesday, and 79 new deaths.

The state's total death toll now stands at more than 8,100.

Meanwhile, a Michigan restaurant association is suing to try to stop a ban on indoor dining.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association says restaurants could still be safe while keeping their dining rooms open.

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Ryan Compeau

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