How Blue Water Area businesses are preparing to re-open as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

With Governor Gretchen Whitmer rescinding her Safer at Home order and moving Michigan into Phase Four of the MI Safe Start Plan, more and more businesses throughout the state will be opening their doors to customers, with retailers allowed to reopen on Thursday, June 4, and restaurants Monday, June 8, albeit under capacity restrictions and health and safety requirements and protocols.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Clair County businesses have been adapting to rules and regulations as they come and go, offering curbside pick-up, online ordering, and improvising on the fly. It hasn’t been easy, but the community has often demonstrated the ability to modify their business models in order to stay in business.

Local development organizations, like the Economic Development Corporation of St. Clair County, have been doing their part to help businesses through these uncertain times. The EDA recently debuted the Restart St. Clair County web page, featuring a host of resources to help area businesses in their efforts to re-open.

By no means scientific, we checked in with a handful of Blue Water Area businesses to get a bead on what our business community is doing on the veritable eve of re-opening.

Maria’s Downtown Cafe, Port Huron

We will be opening June 10th. Going back to our normal business hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. Things are going to look a little different once customers start coming back in. Staff will be wearing masks as required and the 6 feet social distancing between tables and other customers will be followed. We have a new version of the menu made just for this reopening. We will be using disposable menus for the time-being and sanitizer will be provided upon entering for customers and staff.

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VeraGrace & Etta Mae’s, Marine City

At VeraGrace & Etta Mae's we have a nice, spacious floor plan for “social distance” shopping. We offer convertible face covering/headbands and Naked Bee hand sanitizer for sample and sale. We've cleaned and added a plexiglass screen. We'd love to welcome you back to our happy place. Open seven days a week, Sunday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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District 43, Port Huron

District 43 is excited to welcome back our customers and make new friends as we enter our first summer in beautiful Downtown Port Huron. Providing quality footwear and accessories comes second only to protecting our staff and guests. Michigan executive orders require masks be worn by all who are medically able, so we have free masks available for those who need one, and our staff will wear masks while they are serving you. Hand sanitizer stations have been installed and we have instituted a rigorous cleaning process between guests. Currently we are open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offer private shopping experiences that can be scheduled outside of those hours.

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Gina’s Gallery, Port Huron

The artisans of Gina's Gallery elected to stay closed until all restrictions are lifted. We will spend the time closed to reorganize our displays and make sure everything is safe when we reopen.

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Algonac Flaming Grille, Algonac

The Algonac Flaming Grill in St. Clair County wants to first and foremost say we miss you all. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us with carry outs and positive thoughts during this difficult time for each and every one of us. We have become one big family and nothing can divide us. Starting Monday, June 8, we will be happy to serve our family. Our hours are as follows: Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For health and safety precautions, per our governor, we will be seating customers at every other table. We are informed to have 50 percent capacity, meaning we have 64 seats available. My staff understands the importance of keeping our business sanitized and social distancing six feet apart. I’m so thrilled and hope to see you guys soon. God bless you all and again thank you for your constant support. We stand strong because of you.

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Bella Bolla, Port Huron

We will be opening to the public on Monday, June 8. We will have a full menu and regular hours to get back into normal business operations. Tables will be spaced further apart, and outdoor seating will be provided to cut down on crowd size. The usual sanitizing, hand washing, and ServSafe protocols will be implemented.

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Bistro 428 / Neiman’s Catering, Marine City

We have been open throughout COVID, with exception to the two peak weeks and when a tree fell in the back. We had inside seating to begin with and then went strictly to carry out/curbside & delivery during COVID. With the new guidelines, we can allow one or two tables to have customers dine in. We also plan to provide a picnic table on the covered patio to the west side of our building and continue with carry out/curbside, delivery during lunch.

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Raven Cafe, Port Huron

Hey there, Sadaat here (were you expecting Ed Love?). After polling our staff and managers we have elected to keep doing what we currently have been (takeaway window, curbside, and delivery) until we see what Regions 6 & 8 have been experiencing in regard to spikes in confirmed cases. We’re just trying to play it safe in the event that a second wave is inevitable. We’ll be looking at numbers of confirmed cases in Northern Michigan at the end of next week and base our decision to reopen our dining room on the facts.

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