NewsLocal News


West Michigan businesses eager to reopen as Whitmer lifts stay-at-home order

Posted at 9:01 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 23:40:26-04

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Families in West Michigan will soon be able to eat at a restaurant or shop without calling ahead.

On Monday Governor Whitmer lifted Michigan’s stay at home order and moved the entire state into phase four of its safe start plan.

“The data has shown that we’re ready to carefully move into this next phase,” said Whitmer.

It comes nearly 10 weeks after Whitmer issued her original order.

The new executive order allows restaurants, bars, retailers, outdoor fitness, swimming pools, days camps, libraries, and museums to reopen.

“Obviously we’re excited and hopeful it’s just a sign that things are better,” said Allison Montague, owner of Snapdragon Boutique, a children’s clothing store, in East Grand Rapids.

Montague says despite reopening by appointment only last Thursday, her shop has done around five percent of their normal sales since the shutdown.

On June 4, her and other retailers can let customers walk in without calling ahead.

“I think everyone is feeling the same way,” said Montague. “We’re all ready to get back to business and hopefully living a more normal life.”

The order limits indoor social gatherings to 10 people, but allows up to 100 people if it’s outside.

Michiganders must still wear a mask while in enclosed public spaces and keep six feet of distance from others.

Businesses that reopen will also need to follow other workplace standards issued by the state in May, like frequent cleaning.

“We will have our masks on,” said Rob Lutz, owner of Big Bob’s Pizza.

Lutz says his staff will also rearrange their indoor seating, expand outdoor seating by 20 feet, and keep table side service to a minimum.

Restaurants and bars can reopen June 8 at 50 percent of their normal capacity.

“We think it’s a day at a time,” said Lutz. “It’s working with everybody’s comfort level. Some people are going to remain takeout customers. Others are ready to get into this place and get a table.”

Close contact businesses like gyms, hair salons, and casinos, remain closed. Lutz says he’s hopeful this round of reopening will show the state that Michigan can return to normal.

“We’re hoping that people can start to feel a little bit of their lives return,” said Lutz. “I think we’re all impacted, we’re all in this together.”