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Relaxed COVID restrictions open new era but frustration and uncertainty remain moving forward

Posted at 5:14 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 17:38:25-05

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Royal Oak is a destination suburb centrally located and driven by the hospitality industry with bars and restaurants now open to 50% capacity up to 100 people.

They can remain open until 11 pm along with masks and social distancing.

The capacity numbers are set by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She and her administration continue to say the decisions are based on COVID numbers, science, and CDC Guidelines. That’s it. To math no metrics.

“It is confusing. And I’m not doubting the Governor,” says Kim Thompson visiting Royal Oak and having lunch. “When I watch the news, I cry. And I’m starting to do it again because I feel sorry for the families that work in the restaurants for years.”

Drew Purcell is visiting from Grand Rapids.

He says, “if the data is telling them things are going down, we’re trending in the right direction, I like to see that. I also want to see common sense.”

Sean Kammer is the Downtown Business Manager with the Royal Oak DDA.

He tells 7 Action News, “It’s absolutely frustrating. It’s a national emergency.”

Kammer says 7 Royal Oak businesses have closed in the last year, 8 new ones have opened. Not all are restaurants.

“We need to have some kind of unified response. Royal Oak has done the best it could given the circumstances and the pressures we’ve been facing,” he says.

Hundreds of people have written comments on our Facebook page on all sides of the issue.

Michael Fournier, the Mayor of Royal Oak tells 7 Action News, “We can always debate one policy or another. But this pandemic will be over by the time we’re debating it. I think the most important thing is we stick together.”

We reached out to the Whitmer Administration again today for an interview. We did not get a response as of late Friday afternoon.