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'We're Open West Michigan' series to help support local businesses during pandemic

Restaurant, automotive, computer businesses & more
Posted: 1:43 PM, Mar 25, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-25 13:47:20-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Social distancing slows the spread of the coronavirus. But it also slows business. FOX 17 has launched a new public service campaign called “We’re Open West Michigan” to support local business owners and their workers.

The series will highlight businesses going above and beyond to keep their doors open during this unprecedented time. These restaurants and other businesses have worked hard to be able to offer their services, while still adhering to the social distancing mandates handed down by the state's government.

That mandate includes restaurants as "essential services," and Donkey Taqueria is one of the businesses trying to stay afloat, while not being able to offer dine-in service.

Chris Funaro is the director of operations for the All In Hospitality group that owns Donkey, as well as other local restaurants like The Winchester, Hancock, and others in the Wealthy Street area of Grand Rapids.

"What you see behind us is not a typical lunch crowd," Funaro said. "At this time during the day, this place would be absolutely packed. As you can see right now, where people would typically be are upside down stools."

Donkey Taqueria is offering to-go pickup orders, and customers can utilize third-party companies like DoorDash and UberEats to deliver food. All of it is done with extreme care to keep socially distant and in line with the governor's orders.

The inability to host customers in the brick-and-mortar establishments caused his group to temporarily close some of their restaurants, even from delivery or to-go orders.

"The idea is to put all of our attention and effort into the two restaurants so that the execution and the quality of the product (is maintained) and just being able to maintain a safe environment is our primary focus," Funaro said.

But that has left some of the group's employees without work. Funaro said that his group is actively sharing information about other employment opportunities with the staff members they have had to terminate. They have even prepped and shipped the remaining food from the restaurants that are closing to help alleviate some of the hardship caused by being laid off.

Do you run or work for a local business that is staying open and is in need of customers?

Tell us about it. You can fill out a simple online form, so your business can be considered for a future “We’re Open West Michigan” story.

And don't forget about #TakeoutTuesday. You can support local restaurants by getting takeout or delivery every Tuesday until West Michigan businesses are back up to full speed. Share photos of your food on social media using the hashtag: #TakeoutTuesday.