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Mid-Michigan restaurants owners work to find ways to stay open while keeping up with demand

A white man holding a green long sleeve shirt with white pants stands holding a metal lantern. On his shirt a golden saddle is painted in the middle. In the middle section of the saddle a yellow burger is painted. The man is also wearing a brown hat.
Courtesy: Green Dot Stables Lansing
Interior of Green Dot Stables restaurant in Lansing, Michigan.

The cycle of closures and re-openings is by now a familiar one to some restaurant owners.

But with pandemic restrictions easing up, many residents are now feeling more comfortable with the prospect of eating inside.

Matthew Rudd, the general manager and chef at Green Dot Stables in Lansing, says there was a point last year where he thought they would not be returning.

"After the first closure, I left it up to the pandemic, but once we were months into the second closure I just really didn't think we would reopen again," he said.

But as Michigan State University returned to in-person learning in the fall of 2021, the business picked back up.

“The students on campus is a huge benefit for us. We definitely feel when they're not around, definitely in the summer months, we slow down about 30%," he added.

As far as COVID safety precautions go, Rudd says he's leaving it up to staff and customers to decide on how cautious they’ll be.

Julie Pingston, the President and CEO of the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, says that while the demand is increasing many restaurants are struggling to keep up.

"So, restaurants are still having to not open fully or not have the same hours that they've always had, due to a lot of the workforce shortages that have really played a role in this long drawn out way of them fully returning to their business," she added.

Pingston says restaurant owners who haven’t opened their establishments back up yet are waiting for the pandemic to feel over for them.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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