GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — "We're Open West Michigan" is a series by FOX 17 that puts customers in touch with businesses that are still open during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the businesses that were deemed essential and given the green light to stay open are automotive shops.
As you enter Belle Tire in Grandville, you'll notice some immediate differences in the lobby. Gone is the complimentary coffee. The magazine rack stands empty. Four or five chairs are spaced sparingly in the waiting room. But the most glaring difference is a long strip of bright tape across the floor you'll find at each of their locations.
"(The taped line) gives the proper distance away from the counter," said Director of Retail Scott Clayton. "Interaction is done at a distance as prescribed."
The employees can be seen all wearing gloves, and even the drinking fountain has been taped off. They are doing all they can to maintain social distancing and slow the possibility of spreading the virus, while still continuing to operate.
While business is much slower than normal, Clayton said it felt good knowing his company is keeping many essential personnel on the road.
"There are a lot of people that need to get to their jobs," Clayton said. "There are doctors and nurses and health care providers. There's also the people providing meals to people's homes. Whether it's UberEats or Meals on Wheels. And of course, police and fire and EMTs. ... All the people who are helping us out during this time."
If you woke up to a flat tire or your brakes need replacing, Belle Tire is open for business. You can get service at one of their six Grand Rapids locations or at locations near Muskegon and Holland.
If you are a business that wants to be featured in this series, click on this link to fill out a short form to be considered.
As we continue our 'We're Open West Michigan" series, you'll notice a strong emphasis on restaurants. These establishments and their staff have been one of the hardest hit by the state's stay-at-home mandate.
And don't forget to take part in #TakeOutTuesday if you have the means. Each Tuesday, skip the cooking and order delivery or takeout from your favorite restaurant and help them through these tough times. You can see a list of those establishments and get information on how to add yours to the list here.