Restaurants in Michigan are allowed to reopen this week at half capacity for the first time in roughly three months. Some business owners are adapting.
Many restaurant owners are excited to be back just in time for summer - but customers will be looking at a new dining experience when they return.
At The Stray Dog Bar & Grill in New Buffalo, they’ve put in place some safety measures to try to keep both employees and customers safe. Some of those include plexiglass dividers in between booths and only allowing in guests who can be seated immediately.
Leslie Danesi opened The Stray Dog with her husband about 20 years ago. She says she expects these safety precautions to be in place through at least the rest of summer.
“One of our main goals is not only making customersfeel secure and welcome when they come into the building, but also being able to give our employees a sense of safety."
Denasi says prior hardships, like a fire in 2012 that shutdown the restaurant for nearly one year, prepared them for when the pandemic forced the restaurant to close.
“We’ve been in New Buffalo for 20 years," she says. "We’ve dealt with slower seasons, rainy seasons, and we were really prepared if something affected our businesses, that we could withstand it.”
Danesi says they were able to pay their employees through the three months of being shut down.
The Stray Dog reopened its doors to the public on Monday and Danesi says there was a decent turnout of customers.
She says the restaurant will continue to offer takeout for customers who aren’t ready to dine-in.