Michigan restaurants, bars reopen indoor dining


GVL / Katherine Vasile

Haileigh Huber

Local restaurants and bars are putting their best foot forward after they were permitted to open for indoor dining by The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Monday, Feb. 1. While many are ready to be back in restaurants there are still heavy restrictions that need to be followed.

Under the newest order implemented on Feb. 1, restaurants and bars will have to operate at 25 percent capacity, groups will be separated by at least 6 feet, masks must be worn unless eating or drinking, there can be no more than six people at a table and closing time must be before 10 p.m.

Even with these stern restrictions, David Kortman front of house Manager at Allendale’s Main Street Pub said, “Monday nights aren’t usually busy, but around dinner time there was a wait out the door.”

While many restaurants have been experiencing staffing issues Main Street Pub was able to keep all front-of-house staff working during the original order, and now that indoor dining is back the employees are ready to return to a small sense of normalcy in the workplace.

Customer communication is critical in any business, especially during a global pandemic. For customers to feel safe businesses need to have a plan on how they will deal with the public’s questions or uncertainty. Main Street Pub and Murphy’s Family Restaurant are prepared to answer any questions and ease customer concerns.

Matthew Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Family Restaurant, is excited to welcome everyone back and is taking all the right precautions by wearing masks, social distancing and making sure they don’t exceed capacity.

“We encourage everyone who’s comfortable to come on in,” said Murphy.

Being located in a college community, a majority of the customers are Grand Valley State University students. Even though they were still able to get take-out during the original order, it’s the social connection and experience of going out with their friends that was missed.

“People were chomping at the bit waiting for places to re-open,” Kortman said.

Allendale local Caroline Cooney is thrilled to finally go somewhere besides her bedroom. While the fears of COVID-19 are always in the back of her mind, she knows Main Street Pub and Murphy’s Family Restaurant will put the public’s safety first.

“Murphy’s is the best place to get breakfast in the morning and Main Street Pub is where I like to sit down with my friends and family eat dinner, and just hang out,” said Cooney.

While both Main Street Pub and Murphy’s Family Restaurant are encouraging everyone to come dine-in, they are still offering take-out and curbside pickup.