West Michigan business owners eye a more normal summer

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The state’s mask mandate and indoor and outdoor capacity limits will expire, and local business owners say it’s been a long time.

Many COVID-19 restrictions are lifted Tuesday, June 22 in Michigan, a week before the state’s originally scheduled reopening. The state’s mask mandate and indoor and outdoor capacity limits will expire, and local business owners say it’s been a long time.

“Our open play is up a lot from two years ago,” said Mike Eaton, co-owner and general manager of the Spectrum Entertainment Complex.

He says the increased activity at their bowling alley is an indication of what he expects this summer.

“Everyone is excited to go out and have fun,” he says.

Eaton’s calls it a double-edged sword, as they’re both excited to welcome people in, but also slightly worried about how their understaffed staff will handle the situation after months of lockdowns.

“We’re probably operating at two-thirds capacity,” he says. “Maybe less than that in the kitchen. We’re doing well and we’re happy to reopen. A few extra hands on the deck would be nice.”

And at the College Inn in Grand Rapids, co-owner Rick Geldhof also has his worries after suffering major losses last year.

“I’m still skeptical. There’s another strain out there,” he says. “I’ll guess (we lost) $60,000 to $80,000.”

Geldhof says companies like his not only had to adhere to capacity limits, but also curfews that others did not have.

“We felt as harassed as possible,” he says. “I’m glad it’s over so I don’t have to be hassled anymore.”

Eaton and Geldhof are both hoping for better days for their businesses.

“I’m open so I’m better than being closed,” Geldhof said. “I’ll take it as it comes.”

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