It is clear that as we head into the holiday season, community spread of the coronavirus has reached every corner of Michigan and most other states as well.

With new statewide restrictions coming into effect on Wednesday, November 18th we have to make a conscientious effort to support our local business owners as we head back into the unknown.

How long will these restrictions last?

What does this mean for our community?

How can we help those who are struggling?

Of course we don’t have all of these answers, but we can predict what this may do to our local economy in the months ahead if we don’t do everything we can right now.

Here are some things you CAN do to be a part of the solution:

  • Safety is First & Foremost – Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose, wash your hands, and social distance! Doing these things to keep yourself and others safe is no longer a political choice, but an economic one. It is the most important thing we can do to keep our frontline workers safe, our hospitals from being overrun and our businesses from closing.
  • Buy gift cards for your favorite locally owned restaurants and shops. Think about the places that, if permanently closed, you would really miss. Infusing them with extra cash right now may make the difference of them getting through the winter season.
  • If takeout is available, place an order. Some area restaurants are even offering Thanksgiving meals to go for the first time. Some have curbside pick-up, online ordering and/or delivery options.
  • Be a social media ambassador to advocate for your favorite local businesses. “Like” and share their pages and posts with your networks. It doesn’t cost you a thing, but could pique interest for someone else. Write a positive review. Take a picture of your awesome takeout meal and share it with your friends, and tag the business.
  • Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, think about what you CAN do. There are many outdoor recreational activities that can be done safely. We are fortunate to live in an area with an abundance of trails, literally hundreds of miles worth! We have a locally-owned ski resort that has continually made improvements to their property and has been working very diligently with state and national ski associations for months to develop best practices and protocols. We have equipment rentals if you would like to try something new. Self-care and mental health are important, especially now, months into this pandemic.
  • Be kind to staff. Think about it; it’s not easy being a front-line employee. From restaurant servers, to store cashiers, to hotel housekeepers. Most all of our hospitality and retail businesses are short staffed right now. The possibility of virus exposures, making ends meet, and changing guidelines create additional stress for employees. It costs absolutely nothing to be kind and patient to someone that is simply doing their job.

  • When you can give a little more, do it. Whether it’s a higher than normal tip on a restaurant bill, a random act of kindness, or donating to local charitable organizations. There is no shortage of opportunities to do something to help others right now when they need it most.
  • Pay with cash or debit card (with PIN) when possible. Credit card processing fees (normally between 2-4% of the transaction) for small businesses can really add up. Debit cards usually cost the retailer less to process when a PIN is used.

We would love to hear your ideas and things you are doing to support our hospitality community.

We will continue to update our “Travel Safe” page with information and guidance from the MDHHS as the situation changes.

Please stay safe!