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Bars, restaurants open with restrictions

VFW and Polish halls are also open with the change, allowing longtime members to visit again.
Posted at 11:10 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 23:10:12-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Bars and restaurants are open for the first time since November with tight restrictions in place. Establishments have to adhere to 25% capacity and are also subjected to a curfew.

As part of the change, historic Polish halls and VFW posts are allowed to reopen. These types of establishments allow members and their visitors in, but they also must adhere to the same rules and regulations applied to other establishments.

In Grand Rapids, the Fifth Street Hall reopened on Monday. Located on the corner of Davis and Fifth Street on the West side, the hall welcomed members back. Its only source of income is through membership fees and by serving customers within the hall's walls.

"It's wonderful. As I said when I came into one of our other members, 'It's just good to be home,'" said Jeremy Rush, a board member at the hall. "It's a nice little community of people."

With limited capacity, the hall can allow up to 60 people inside at any given time.

With the hall serving local beers and ciders on tap, Monday's reopening served as an opportunity for beer and alcohol distributors to check in on their product.

City Built Brewing owner Edwin Collazo came to the hall to meet up with some of his friends there and check on their beer served on tap, discovering the keg needs to be changed out after sitting for three months.

"We want to make sure they have good product to taste and that it’s representative of the beer that we make," said Collazo.

The hall has also served as a haven for other local business owners, like Jason Lummen who owns the Peoples Cider Company. He is urging customers to support local businesses by dining in if they feel comfortable. If not, he is encouraging patrons to order to-go cocktails, tip generously or order take-out. For those who choose to dine in, he's asking customers to take precautions.

"We have to do this safely and correctly, otherwise we are going to have to shut down again. So the responsibility not only lies with these establishments that are reopening because we are all trying so hard. But the responsibility allows lies in the patrons that are coming in," said Lummen.