'25% is a higher number than 0%': Saugatuck brewery excited to reopen indoor dining

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 16:47:52-05

SAUGATUCK, Mich. — With Governor Gretchen Whitmer's announcement on Friday that restaurants can reopen at 25% capacity on February 1, there are plenty of businesses who are excited about the news, despite those regulations.

RELATED: MDHHS issues order reopening indoor dining Feb. 1

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A Saugatuck restaurant owner said she couldn't contain her excitement during Gov. Whitmer's press conference as she wasn't expecting the announcement so soon. She said even 25% is better than 0%.

"We have a lot of brave outdoor diners right now who have been really keeping us in business, but times are lean. That 25% will really help a lot," said Guardian Brewing Company's Owner and Head Brewer Kim Collins.

With Guardian Brewing Company's indoor dining closed for over two months now, the owner Kim Collins said even 25% capacity allows them to have 23 indoor seats available, with a normal 92-person capacity.

"I know it’s pretty tough for places that might have 50 or 30 seats, 25% is a lot less, but I think if we still think of it as being better than zero. It’s moving in the right direction, that is really all we can ask for right now which is better than a straight shutdown. That would be far worse," said Collins.

"The thing to remember with restaurants is this is not a cookie cutter industry. There are restaurants in all shapes and all sizes. This will certainly help a portion of those shapes and sizes," said John Schmitt, a senior business consultant with the Michigan Small Business Development Center.

Schmitt, a consultant, for many bars and restaurants said if nothing else, just celebrate the fact that you can eat inside a restaurant once again and go out to support these businesses.

"There is still a small, cumulative effect. Instead of telling my workers, ‘No I have to lay you off’. 'No I can actually bring you back to work'. It is small incremental steps of getting back to whatever the new normal is going to be," said Schmitt.

Schmitt said while 25% is good news for these businesses, he is hoping in the weeks after February 1, there will be another step towards reopening even more.

SEE MORE: Capacity restrictions & curfews: Here are the rules MI restaurants must follow when reopening