MARSHALL, Mich. — Many Michigan restaurants and other businesses are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to reopen, as are people sitting at home long to going out to eat again during the COVID-19 pandemic, but when they do, things may be a little different.
Managers at Schuler’s Restaurant and Pub in Marshall said in the 111 years they have been open, they don’t think the restaurant has ever experienced anything like the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued her executive order, Schuler’s attempted to do takeout service only, but it only lasted a few weeks. The overheard cost was higher than what the restaurant was bringing in, so it made the tough decision to close four weeks ago. On Thursday, April 30, 2020, takeout became available once again, along with free local delivery.
“We feel like we’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel,” Sue Damron, Schuler’s Restaurant and Pub president and CEO, said. “You know, we’re all kind of waiting to know when and what that will look like.”
Damron said she hoped the restaurant could welcome customers back inside soon.
The Calhoun County Public Health Department reached out to restaurants like Schuler’s to get a feel for how they’re operating.
Environmental Public Health Director Kevin Green said all local health departments are working as conduits for the state, helping restaurants and other food businesses interpret the state’s rules.
Green said any change in health code or increased inspections would be something the state decides, but he expects the health department will be checking in with businesses a lot more often.
“Restaurants are going to have to take time to get themselves back up and running again. It’s going to be a slow opening. They’re not going to flip a switch per se, and say that ‘we’re ready for business, everybody. Let’s go,'” Green said. “We don’t want to have a second wave. The concern that I would get is if some of these restaurants that are working small staff have to open back up and hire a bunch of people that haven’t had a lot of training on safety, food safety yet.”
Schuler’s has 505 seats, which is more than a lot of restaurants, and Damron said when the restaurant was ready to allow people back in, they would be spread out.
“You know the food service industry is an industry that has focused on safety and food safety and proper hygiene well before COVID-19. I think the COVID-19 experience for all of us has really taught us to be even more diligent about that,” Damron said.
Schuler’s said they are also providing masks and gloves to staff. Staff members are also filling out health screening forms, and taking temperatures everyday.
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