‘It’s exciting’: UP restaurants ready to reopen Friday

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — Iron Bay Restaurant and Drinkery in Marquette only recently opened for takeout and delivery to their customers.

“We started takeout on Friday and delivery today,” said Andrew Hillary the geral manager of Iron Bay, said.

So after hearing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement Monday that bars, restaurant dining rooms and retail businesses can open starting Friday, they’re pretty exited.

“I mean it’s exciting,” Hillary said. “I don’t think that I anticipated being able to open up the restaurant until June or July and so it’s exciting to know that it could happen a little quicker. I’m excited to see and anxious maybe what the mayor and Marquette County says as far as that goes. I know the governor has given local authorities and govern bodies the ability to be a little stricter than she is putting the order out to be. So, it’ll be interesting to see how it all unfolds.”

While it is ultimately up to the local municipalities, Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli says the city plans on following suit with Whitmer’s requirements.

“Certainly, the governor’s announcement is good news,” Angeli said. “It’s something we’ve all been waiting for and anticipating.”

With social distancing in mind, the bars and restaurants will have to limit their capacity to 50%. 
Groups will be required to stay 6 feet apart and servers will have to wear face coverings.

Angeli said he has been in talks with other county administrators and neighboring municipalities.

“We just want to make sure we’re all doing this together,” Angeli siad, “which is how we typically do things. I mean in the U.P., we kind of work together as much as we can.”

It’s not just restaurants and bars that can open up. Retail businesses and offices that cannot remotely work from home are allowed to as well. That includes Northern Lights Glass, also in Marquette.

“You couldn’t even enjoy the time off,” shop owner Malia Cole said. “You didn’t know if you were going to get paychecks, you didn’t know if you were going to get unemployment. There was just too many variables and all of the bills were still all due for everything.”

Cole said her business was pretty much closed throughout most of April. She started doing curbside assistance a few weeks ago.

Another place that may reopen: parks. Angeli says that the city initially planned on reopening its parks on May 29, but should be able to give the community access, including to Presque Isle, on Friday as well.