Restaurants readjust to reopening plan for dine-in

Coronavirus

SPARTA, Mich. (WOOD) — Once again, West Michigan restaurants are reacting and readjusting to the latest announcement on when and how dine-in service may be allowed to resume.

During a press conference Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said it currently plans to let restaurant dining rooms reopen with capacity limits and a curfew on Feb. 1. But it also qualified in a release that is the “working plan” and warned “the ultimate decision depends on data continuing to stabilize.”

“It’s nice to have a light at the end of the tunnel,” Chris Kies, the general manager of Brick Haus Brews in Sparta said. “With everything that’s going on, I understand the restraint, I understand the restrictions, but it doesn’t make what we’re doing any easier.”

Opening early last year, Brick Haus Brews has been at the mercy of the state’s ever-changing guidelines and restrictions from the very beginning.

“We were going to be in March, then sometime in April and then May and we actually opened up the doors in June,” owner Janet Knauf said.

Kies, who’s been in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, said there’s no amount of experience that could prepare you for this.

“You think that you understand the ins and outs of running a restaurant and what it takes to make a place successful and then you get thrown into the middle of a pandemic and they’re like no you really don’t know what you’re doing, so try this,” Kies said.

With Wednesday’s announcement, the state made it clear any indoor dining would be subject to restrictions.

The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association responded to the announcement Wednesday, cautioning the state to be wary with its restrictions.

“If requirements are too restrictive, many businesses may choose to remain closed because it just won’t be worth it for them,” MLBA’s statement said in part.

But for Brick Haus Brews, they’re ready to do whatever it takes.

“If they’re higher capacity restrictions that we’ve been dealing with in the past, if it’s the curfew that they’re talking about putting into effect, all of those things are going to be taken into consideration,” Kies said. “Any changes that we have to make, would be something that if it means that we stay open, we’ll make those changes and we’ll comply as we’re needed to.”

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