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Flint restaurant industry suffering amid water fears

Jan 25, 2016

Credit Izumi Japanese Restaurant / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Business is slower than usual for some restaurants in Flint, and owners say it's because of the water crisis.

Scott Ellis is the executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, which represents bars, restaurants and taverns.

He says he has heard concerns from many restaurant owners about the impact of the ongoing emergency.

"First of all, business is down," Ellis said. "They're using Flint water, they're afraid if all the precautions were taken to make the water clean."

Many restaurants have taken steps to ensure that they are providing clean water, including purchasing bottled water and filters, according to Ellis.

"And all these things to make sure the public knows that they are safe; please come in and enjoy like you used to," he said. 

However, these precautions have increased the cost of business while business is declining.

Ellis says people from outside of the city can do their part to help by stopping at a restaurant in Flint if they are visiting to deliver water.

"That's a great way to give back," he said.

The MLBA wants to bring awareness to the plight of restaurant owners, says Ellis.

"They're still there in business, they're still part of your community and they need you now more than ever," he said.

- Paulette Parker, Michigan Radio Newsroom