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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

West MI business owners are grappling with the effects of the mask mandate

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MI Restaurant Promise
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The mask mandate, an executive order signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, requires every Michigander to wear a mask in crowded outdoor areas and inside public spaces.

Whitmer said businesses are required to refuse entry and service to those who don’t wear masks and those who refuse could face up to a $500 fine or a misdemeanor charge.

Lindsy Hoezee runs the social media for Sandy’s Donuts, a donut shop located on the west side of Grand Rapids. She says while she agrees with the mandate limiting the spread of COVID-19 it isn’t always easy to enforce.

“Since we’ve been reopened, we have signs on all the doors that say “must wear a mask”, we have an entrance door and an exit door, we have all the stickers on the floor for the six feet social distancing. For the most part people follow the rules but it’s about 70% follow the rules and about 30% do not.”

Hoezee says one of the ways they are enforcing the rules is by selling masks to those who don’t have a mask and if someone refuses to wear one, they will offer curbside pick-up instead. Kyle VanStrien, co-owner of Long Road Distillers, says his team is following a similar protocol at their two West Michigan locations.

“Even now that we are open some of the limitation that we have make it challenge to make ends meet—that said I think some of those steps are important for keeping our team members safe. There’s a lot of people who have not decided for that very reason.” 

Long Road Distillers is one of over 800 businesses part of the Michigan Restaurant Promise. A group of industry workers pledging to uphold local and state rules to protect employees and customers.

“If we can all get on the same and we can all do our part to enforce these requirements it’s a lot harder for a guest who disagrees with this to suggest that they can go somewhere else and to threaten a business in that way.” 

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