Reopening – 7 Things You Can Do as a Customer to Shop + Dine Safely

Written by Kingsli Kraft | May 22, 2020

Some of our downtown restaurants, bars and retail shops are reopening this weekend with social distancing measures in place, per Governor Whitmer’s executive order. For businesses, that means reduced capacity requirements, new safety and healthy screening policies for employees, rigorous cleaning and disinfecting routines, and certain requirements and requests for customers. Reopening looks a little different business to business, here are 7 things you can do as a customer to keep yourself and your community safe if you’re venturing into Downtown Alpena this weekend.

Plan ahead. Checking businesses’ Facebook pages, websites, or give them a call to see what their policies are for customers and what they’re doing to keep their employees and customers safe. Some businesses may have different policies than others (for example, one restaurant may offer dine-in by reservation only, while others may offer dine-in on a first-come-first-serve basis) so be mindful of that when you’re making plans to shop or dine downtown.

Wear a mask. Think of it as “the simplest, easiest act of kindness that you can do in a day not just for yourself, but for other people,” is how Dan Levy (yes, from Schitt’s Creek) put it in a recent video posted on Instagram. If you can wear a mask, please do so in order to continue to keep our community safe and prevent any further spread of the virus. Per Executive Order 2020-96, this is a requirement unless you have a medical reason for being unable to wear a mask. Businesses can and will enforce this rule, and may refuse service in order to be in compliance with the Executive Order 2020-96 and continue operations safely. If you need help finding somewhere to purchase a mask, let us know and we can point you in the direction of some different options.

Maintain 6 feet of distance. If you’re not in the same household, maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others while shopping or dining downtown, especially if you’re not able to wear a mask

Keep six feet of distance between yourself and fellow shoppers and diners.

Wash or sanitize your hands. When stations to wash or sanitize your hands are offered, take advantage of them to disinfect your hands and help prevent the spread of bacteria.

Pay with card. Make sure to have your card on hand, if you have one, when you’re shopping as it’s easier to disinfect a credit card than paper money, and they often carry less bacteria than paper money as well.

Continue to opt for curbside pick-up/takeout/delivery. To help make sure we don’t overwhelm our businesses as they start to reopen, continue using the other options they offer in addition to shopping or dining in person in order to help make this transition safe and easy for everyone.

Be patient, respectful and kind. The last, but certainly not the least thing that you can do to shop and dine safely downtown during this reopening period is to be patient, respectful and kind. This experience is uncharted territory for all of us, so make sure to practice compassion this weekend as we navigate this new normal together. Understand that business owners are trying to do what is right for them, their employees and their customers so that everyone feels comfortable and respected and everyone can go home to their families safe. So please be respectful of their new policies and understand that we are all adapting to this experience. Remember, you don’t know everyone’s story and you don’t need to know to treat them with a little kindness and respect.

These are just a few things that you can do to help businesses work through this transition with ease! Thank you all for your continued support of our downtown businesses during all of this. We are overwhelmed by the ways that our community has stepped up to support and care for one another through this global experience, and I could not be more proud to call Alpena my home.

Kingsli Kraft wrote this article for Blog Downtown Alpena. Kingsli is an Alpena native and a graduate of the University of Michigan. She now works at the Alpena Downtown Development Authority as the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. She volunteers on Thunder Bay Theatre’s Board of Directors and is a dedicated advocate for the arts and environment. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, hiking, caring for all of her plants and all things coffee. You can follow her on Instagram here.

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