Pandemic Holiday: How is Michigan managing Memorial Day weekend?

Some areas see crowds while others are almost empty during the first major holiday since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Business owners in northern Michigan hustled to get things ready to reopen before the Memorial Day weekend.

Others couldn’t quite make it and missed out on the shoppers who swarmed Traverse City and other holiday destinations after Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that some businesses could reopen with restrictions in the upper part of the state.

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Still other businesses chose to stay closed rather than risk the health and safety of their employees and customers.

The owner of the Traverse City coffee shop, BrewTC, opted not to reopen despite the state’s allowance.

“I think we jumped the gun,” said Sean Kickbush in an interview with Bridge Magazine. He said he fears “giving all our progress (in flattening the COVID-19 curve) back if we jump in too early.”

Others are more positive.

“It’s a very challenging time and it’s a very risky time. But this is what we want,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers in an article on MLive. “This is the lifeblood of our region – getting people here to support our local businesses and our economy.”

Meanwhile, crowds were anemic closer to home.

Vacationers in South Haven reported about a third as many people as would normally be on the beach the Saturday before Memorial Day, according to WWMT.

“Normally it’s big crowds, hard to find parking and just a lot of people,” said George Sullivan who was visiting from Illinois.

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