Just last weekend, Michigan introduced a number of new restrictions designed to curb the dramatic rise of COVID-19 cases as the holidays near. Here’s what businesses need to know.
As has been the case since the pandemic began in March, certain industries are much more affected by the necessary restrictions set in place to slow the meteoric rise in cases sweeping across the country and in the Midwest in particular. On Sunday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a number of updated restrictions drawn up by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The new directives come after the Republican-led Michigan legislature pushed to curtail the governor’s sweeping executive orders.
For businesses, the changes mean new challenges just as many are pinning their hopes to a strong holiday season. On the day the public health orders were announced, Michigan topped 7,700 cases in a single day on the heels of another jump in the seven-day average. With transmission on the rise, certain businesses will see changes that will require a renewed sense of creativity and invention throughout the three-week order.
Bars and Restaurants
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, bars and restaurants are perhaps the most affected. The order has put a stop to indoor dining services, though restaurants can continue to offer takeout, curbside, and delivery. Many Michigan establishments have already incorporated these services as not just short-term fixes, but long-term elements of their business, though losing dine-in services will certainly cause financial hardships. The move to target restaurants and bars comes with ample evidence that these have served as a prime source of spread after the country reopened this summer.
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Gyms and Spin Studios
Just as in the spring, gyms are also facing serious restrictions. Most have already moved to offer a growing number of virtual options for clients, which could offer some positive and lasting opportunities to reach new client bases in the long-term. For now, however, gyms and spin studios will be restricted to offering only one-on-one sessions between clients and instructors.
Venues have taken a big hit, and it’s no surprise that the trend will continue. Movie theaters, concert halls, indoor skating rinks, even bingo halls have been instructed to close for the duration of the three-week order. Many of these industries rely on winter weather for traffic, with the loss of November holiday traffic sure to have a lasting impact on their viability.
The holidays are here, and retail locations find themselves operating at 30% capacity just as local events and sales typically drive plenty of shoppers through their doors. Other in-person operations like barbershops can continue to operate on an appointment-only basis. That’s a move many smaller retailers have adopted in order to limit exposure to their staff while providing a more personalized shopping experience.
Schools Are Closed
Sure, schools aren’t exactly businesses, but getting the kids to and from school has a big impact on many local businesses. Without a need for parents or high schoolers to commute, businesses like coffee shops and restaurants that rely on heavy road traffic may be especially quiet over the next several weeks. Expect many of these locations to double-down on delivery options. Those who already offer efficient drive-thru options may also look to expand their menu to cater to those missing their normal dishes; Panera Bread has already picked up the slack by adding pizza to their menu last month.
Local businesses have already proven that the ability to pivot, communicate, and engage will survive. Embracing digital offerings and communicating new services and safety procedures has shown customers that businesses care about their patrons and their communities more than just making a buck.
If you’re a Michigan business struggling to communicate your COVID-19 procedures or services, we can help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!