Local businesses look ahead to phase 5 of reopening in coming weeks

MARQUETTE COUNTY — Governor Gretchen Whitmer rescinded her Safer at Home order on June 1, moving the state into phase 4 of the reopening plan.

However, for businesses in the Upper Peninsula already in phase 4, that means our region will soon be moving into the next phase. Whitmer stated that later this week, she plans to issue an executive order officially moving regions 6 and 8—the UP and Traverse City—to phase 5.

Phase 5 involves “containing.” Social distancing and face coverings will still be required, but most businesses will be allowed to reopen.
Although local businesses will have permission to resume daily in–person operations, many will likely do so slowly over time.

“Some of the businesses are starting to work toward soft openings, especially with retail,” explained Greater Ishpeming–Negaunee Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bob Hendrickson. “A lot of the businesses like Jubilee and the grocery stores and hardware stores, they’ve been in this since the start. So I think the biggest thing people need to expect is that businesses that have been in business have kind of been able to adapt to all these new changes; the businesses that are just reopening are going to have more of a challenge adapting to it.”

It’s also important to keep in mind that although certain restrictions are being lifted, each business’s guidelines should still be followed. Not every store or restaurant will have the same requirements to enter their establishment.

“We’re really encouraging people to have patience—both from the consumer side and from the business side,” said Hendrickson. “This is kind of an integration into socialization again, and it can be awkward at certain times. But at the same time, if a business is asking people to wear a mask coming into their business, we really ask people to respect that, and likewise with social distancing. Just follow the visual cues and the social distancing cues that businesses have in place at each location.”

The GINCC is encouraging the community to buy local as the region moves into phase 5. Buying locally will help to regenerate the area’s economy, and it will help local business owners who have experienced financial challenges during the pandemic.