West Michigan breweries re-open after stay-at-home order lifted

Posted at 8:45 PM, Jun 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 09:52:21-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It’s the first weekend in three months that bars in West Michigan can welcome customers.

In March Governor Whitmer closed them and other businesses due to coronavirus concerns, but were allowed to reopen June 8.

“It’s a lot different,” said Lita Cyvulskis, general manage of Mitten Brewing Company. “There’s not large parties, there’s not huge wait lists.”

“It’s been real nerve wracking for the staff cause they didn’t know what to expect,” said Cyvulskis.

The Grand Rapids microbrewery opened on Monday. Cyvulskis says it’s been slow explaining their business would usually be pack on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

“People are super cautious to get out,” said Cyvulskis.

Bars can hold 50 percent of their normal occupancy. For MBC, that’s roughly 120 people.

Cyvulskis adds the bar is requiring guests to wear face masks, limiting what’s on the table, digitizing their menu, designating a single entrance and exit, and closing early.

“Just limiting everything that has to be sanitized, washed down,” said Cyvulskis. “We have one guy designated, that’s all he does.”

She says the bar is lucky to be open after the shutdown, but explains as the business continues to rely heavily on its takeout business, she wonders if they’ll be able to financially recover from the three months and the months ahead.

“Be really flexible,” said Cyvulskis. “You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, we’re constantly changing. Schedules are changing, people’s positions are changing, maybe we should try it this way, how are we going to get through this tonight, how do we communicate this?”