LANSING, Mich. — Now that parts of northern Michigan have been giving the green light to partially reopen, businesses her in Mid-Michigan are getting a head start by putting plans in place to welcome back customers.
The coronavirus pandemic has turned the once-bustling streets of Old Town into somewhat of a ghost town. Small retail owners say they're just waiting for that green light for when it's safe to reopen.
"We've worked hard to get pictures uploaded and make sure inventory is accurate and all of that good stuff," said Mother & Eather Baby Boutique Owner Lynn Ross. "It happened so fast I just rolled with it. I just was like this is what we have to do to survive this."
Not knowing what the future for reopening looks like or what new guidelines they'll have to follow.
"We're going to be cautious about how many people are in the store and things are going to be different for a long time."
Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) is sending out best practices and suggestions until they get clear guidelines from the state.
"What we've been advising our retailers to do is get ready for reopening because you may not get much of a heads up so you might as well start getting ready now by setting up hand sanitizing stations in your stores, reassessing your hours in case you do need more time to clean, figuring out ways that you can health screen your employees, getting up the appropriate signage," said Meegan Hollan with MRA.
Hoping the massive crowds and lack of social distancing seen in other states don't happen here.
"I think as stores reopen, we'll see that. We'll see stores that maybe aren't enforcing policy or shoppers that just are not operating with safety in mind and we're advising stores in Michigan to be prepared to set policies and then be firm with those policies but knowing that it still really puts the retailer in an awkward position to have to enforce some of these when customers get belligerent." "Shoppers need to take responsibility for how they behave in a store"
Polka Dots Boutique Owner Jennifer Hinzee plans on taking reopening slowly.
"I think I'll open but it'll be on a minimal basis with a plan in place to have only a couple people or even one to two people in the store at a time," said Hinzee.
She feels small shops like boutiques can social distance and clean in a way big stores can't.
"I think with a small store like mine we know what people are touching and what needs to be cleaned and we pay attention to things like that."
The Stay Home Stay Safe order is set to end on May 28th. Starting Friday, retail stores will be able to reopen in the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City Regions. They suggest businesses set up no-touch payment and separation at cash registers to encourage social distancing.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help businesses and restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
Also, get information about Rebound Mid Michigan, with stories, information and more about coming back from COVID-19
Join the Rebound Mid Michigan Facebook Group.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
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