We can't find new workers

I’m the CEO of Commando Lock Company in Troy. We manufacture military-grade padlocks right here in Oakland County.

When our state unemployment rate was under 5%, we could find great temp-to-hire labor for lock assembly any time. We typically bring these folks on full time once we find a good fit.

We’d get three to four candidates per day for an opening.

Now, with unemployment at more than 20%, we have gone three weeks without a single applicant to multiple openings. None.

Staffing firms have said there are no candidates looking for this above minimum wage work (where they used to have hundreds in their talent pool).

This is crippling small business. We want to hire, but we can’t compete with the government on wages at this point.

Matt Damman, CEO, Commando Lock Company, Troy

Alcohol to-go poses dangers

Shortly after the Legislature voted to pass bills that expand access and availability of alcohol in Michigan, the state is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases stemming from a bar in East Lansing. This legislation permits the sale of cocktails to-go and allows for the creation of “common areas” for pseudo outdoor watering holes.

The science tells us that increasing access and availability of alcohol during a global pandemic will only create more problems for Michigan residents.

The current outbreak in East Lansing stemming from a bar is a reminder of why alcohol and COVID-19 are a recipe for disaster with real and dangerous consequences. This case has Michigan garnering national headlines for all the wrong reasons.

I understand the economic costs have been significant for bars and restaurants, but to adopt these policies is simply counter to what public health science recommends, and certainly what our local data reflects.

Ensuring consumer convenience to alcohol is weighing heavily on the minds of our state policymakers. However, reports of record alcohol sales, rising 55% during the week ending March 21, tell us consumers have ease of access to alcohol.

At a time when COVID-19 is spreading quickly through our communities, these changes to provide unprecedented access and availability will most certainly increase alcohol-related harms, including interpersonal violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, youth violence, elder violence and violence against children. Not to mention heavy use of alcohol increases the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, one of the most severe complications of COVID-19.

These policy changes to alter the way alcohol is sold in our state will not help us in our collective effort to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

Michael A. Tobias, Perry

Michigan Alcohol Policy Promoting Health and Safety

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