Businesses, restaurants reopen in northern Michigan

Coronavirus

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WOOD) — The northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula are back open for business. Bars, restaurants, and retail stores reopened on Friday. Some places got an early start and opened right as the clock struck midnight.

Brady’s Bar in Traverse City reopened at 12:01 a.m. and closed again at 2 a.m., but not before letting in eager customers. 

Capacity at bars and restaurants, in general, is limited to 50 percent, and only 20 people are allowed inside at a time.

People need to wear face masks until they get to their table and wait staff must also wear masks. People aren’t allowed to sit at the bar for now. They can only order at it.

The biggest change though is that the owner at Brady’s Bar is telling tourists to stay away.

“We have flattened the curve. This area has worked super hard and we’ve had what 23 cases total? I think we’ve worked that hard we deserve to feel safe and I would like to keep my staff and customers as safe as I can. I’m asking that people from downstate don’t come in until they’re quarantined, or their areas are also opened up,” said Nolen Sleder, the owner of Brady’s Bar. 

Retail shops are allowed to reopen up north as well with some restrictions. Gyms, hair salons, and movie theaters are still closed throughout Michigan.

“We’ve been counting the days. We’ve been on a countdown,” said Bill Chichester of Traverse City, who was enjoying lunch outside the Green House Café, 115 E. Front St. with fellow Traverse City resident, Lisa Hayka.

“We’ve been practicing all our safety precautions, we got our masks and our gloves and our sanitizer and things like that,” Hayka said

The announcement this week about the relaxing of the executive orders took many businesses by surprise.

“The opening definitely kind of caught us off guard, for sure,” said Adrienne Brunette, owner of Mama Lu’s at 149 E. Front St.

A few were not quite ready to open their doors.

“We’ve still got to get everything ship-shape and back to normal and make sure all the precautions are in place, stuff like that, but soon,” said Katy Grace, manager of Great Lakes Bath and Body store, 110 E. Front St.

“We’re strictly it to six, we have somebody at the door to make sure we don’t exceed that,” said Ansel Bowden, manager of Plamondon Shoe store, 144 E. Front St. “We’re going to sanitize all the shoes after people try them on.”

Grace said the business owners know what is at stake.

“I think we as a downtown and as a store, we really are on the same page about all of the precautions we can possibly take,” Grace said, adding that what happens here could impact what happens downstate.

But despite the changes, people are just happy to be out and about.

“When we finish lunch here, we’re just gonna keep walking east on Front Street just to enjoy the afternoon,” Chichester said.

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