Businesses reopen as restrictions ease in northern Michigan

Posted at 6:07 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 18:58:21-04

HOUGHTON LAKE, Mich. (WXYZ) — People are driving from all over Michigan to enjoy their Memorial Day Weekends up north. This comes as restrictions forcing restaurants to close to on-location dining to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are lifted Up North.

7 Action News Reporter Kim Russell stopped in restaurants in Prudenville and Houghton Lake to see how it is going.

“Nothing better than a cold beer in an establishment like this,” said Tom Abbott, who drove from Ashley, Michigan with his wife Vickie, to the Frog Tiki Bar in Prudenville.

“It is good to have part of our life back,” said Vickie.

People out to eat have different perspectives on the opening. Some feel like they have finally gotten the chance to experience freedom taken away by repressive government policies that went too far to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“You can’t just shut down. We’re America. I don’t get this. There is risk assessment every day. I am probably at a higher risk of getting on my motorcycle and dying than dying of COVID-19,” said Jim DiGiovanni, a Beaverton Resident, as he ate at the Frog Tiki Bar.

Others feel this is a sign that the government’s actions worked. They say if Governor Gretchen Whitmer hadn’t shut down non-essential businesses they would not be able to eat out and feel safe.

“I think if we wouldn’t have shut down we would have seen a much higher death rate and that wouldn’t have been good. I am very glad she took her precautions and kept us safe,”: said Michael Dotson, a Belleville Resident at the Frog Tiki Bar.

The owner of the Limber Lost Fine Foods and Spirits Restaurant in Houghton Lake says it has been tough to have no income coming in in recent months. They are taking precautions to ensure they reopen safely.

“We have social distanced our tables. We spray our tables down and let them sit. Our salt and pepper shakers are sanitized between each use. Our pens are sanitized. In our kitchen we have social distanced our staff as much as possible,” said Cora Hallauer, owner Limber Lost Restaurant in Houghton Lake.