Michigan business owners struggling to keep up with reimposing restrictions

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 6:32 PM EDT
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NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed 161 executive orders since the pandemic, more than any other state.

"In fact, the states with the most highest cases of COVID are New York and Florida and we have 1.5 times more executive orders as both of those states combined," Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber CEO Arthur Havlicek says.

In the governor's latest executive order, starting on Friday, July 31st, indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people statewide, and outdoor gatherings, in most parts across Michigan will be limited to 100 people, while bars will be forced to closed to indoor service.

They’re the same restrictions that have existed in Berrien County for quite some time, and even though business will remain the same in Stage 4 for Iron Shoe Distillery owner Howard Tuthill, not knowing what restriction will come next is frustrating.

"Every day, every week, it's something new. Sometimes, to be honest, I don't even know that there is a change that has happened," Tuthill says.

They are changes that have forced Tuthill to switch up his business plan several times including shutting down his distillery back in March, to becoming a hand sanitizer facility one month later.

"It's been a roller coaster. We have had to pivot our operations and whole business plan multiple times," Tuthill says.

And amid having to adapt to state safety regulations multiple times, Havlicek explains the constant change is becoming more than business owners can handle.

“It’s exhausting when they are trying to run a business, they’re trying to figure out how to bring employees back, they’re trying to figure out how to serve customers. I would say communication and transparency would go a long way to putting some business owners’ minds at ease,” Havlicek says.

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