Oscoda Co. Restaurants Remain Closed as Neighboring Crawford Co. Restaurants Prepare to Reopen
While many bars and restaurants prepare for a Friday reopening, some in northern Michigan must remain closed, because of the reopening region they fall in.
Spike’s Keg O Nails in Grayling plans to reopen for customers on Friday after restaurants in Michigan’s Region Six, which includes Crawford County, got the green light to start opening back up.
“I feel like our livelihood is, we’re at a point where we have to choose our health over our businesses and I didn’t know how much longer we could go down this path without being able to recover from it,” said Spike’s Owner Jeremy Bowers.
But drive just 30 minutes to the east and you’re in Oscoda County, which is part of Region Four.
That means businesses like the Fairview Family Restaurant must remain closed, despite Oscoda County having one of the lowest COVID-19 caseloads in the entire state with five confirmed cases and one death.
“Very excited at first thinking, hey it’s going to be open, northern Michigan, we’ve had very few cases and then to see it was not us, very frustrating,” said owners Tim and Wendy Diller.
Governor Whitmer explained the regions were determined based on travel patterns and healthcare systems used by people living there.
“I know there are counties that are on the border and they want to be in a region that’s moving forward. There’s no perfect system, but this was the smartest way to do it considering all of the different factors that contribute to the possible spread,” said Whitmer.
Now the work for restaurants shifts to recovering losses and, for some, hope for the chance to re-open soon.
“The thing that I think is frustrating me the most is everything around us is open, Montmorency, Alpena, Grayling,” said Diller.
“We’re down 75 percent over the two months that we’ve been down. So I hope we can,” said Bowers.