GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hasn’t mandated any additional restrictions for restaurants, some local spots are voluntarily closing their dining rooms to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The decision to cut back on service came after Whitmer last week urged restaurants to take a two-week break from indoor dining — a recommendation, not a requirement.
Chris Funaro, the operations director for All-In Hospitality Group, which operates four Grand Rapids restaurants, said the correct choice was obvious given the spike in cases and hospitalizations.
“The biggest thing for us is doing everything we can to keep our staff and our guests safe,” Funaro said.
“(The plan is to) close our indoor dining spaces for two weeks and really focusing on outdoor seating and takeout food,” Funaro said.
He said this is the first time All-In has voluntarily implemented such restrictions, something it sees as necessary to protect staff and customers.
A downtown coffee shop has also heeded to the governor’s advice, closing indoor seating until further notice.
“The moment I see someone walk in with a backpack of briefcase, I try to immediately say, ‘Hey, we’re not doing indoor seating right now,’” Lantern Coffee Bar and Lounge manager Jon Bailey said.
Since that isn’t required by the state right now, Bailey said he explains to customers that Lantern choose to do it to ensure the health and safety of the community.
It’s the same reason GRNoir Wine and Jazz in downtown has pivoted to curbside only, canceling dozens of reservations for in-house dining.
“For us, whether (Whitmer) said it or not, we were grappling with it anyhow because our first line of being responsible is safety,” GRNoir owner Shatawn Brigham said. “For us, for the staff, for the customers for the community, so we decided to say, you know what, let’s pause for a couple weeks and we’ll pick up our curbside service.”