GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Bars and restaurants can now have 50 percent capacity and can stay open until 11 p.m. The curfew hour is pushed back from 10 p.m. in Governor Whitmer's previous orders.
The bar industry says the step is the first toward normalcy.
"We want to prove to the state, and more importantly the general public, that we can operate, and we can operate safely, and now we can operate at this 50 percent capacity," said Tony Kisscorni, general manager at Stella's Lounge in Grand Rapids.
The increased capacity now allows for an additional 20 people inside the bar with parties still spaced out by six feet.
"While it’s not a ton of people in here because we don’t have the seating, it is very, very encouraging," said Kisscorni.
While the changes are helpful to businesses already struggling during the pandemic, bars will continue to battle the curfew time when a large sum of their money would normally be made after midnight.
"Of course, we wanted to push it back later. That’s definitely more money, but it can’t be the cost of public health and my employees’ health."
Stella's Lounge in the meantime is encouraging customers to order from their kitchen and happy hours during the week. With the weather becoming warmer, you can also participate in refreshment zones in the downtown area by ordering a to-go cocktail or beer.