A roadmap to re-opening our bars and restaurants

“Danny D” waits for his carryout at Kelly’s Bar, which has remained open for that service during the quarantine. A number of other Hamtramck bars and restaurants have also been offering carryouts. (This photo was taken before it was mandatory to wear a mask in an enclosed public space.)


By Alan Madlane
Hamtramck is known throughout the wider area, and arguably even across parts of the world, for its bars and restaurants.
Their number, their uniqueness, their out-and-out fun.
The city was once thought to have more bars per person than any other. And it has its fair share of restaurants too.
But in case you haven’t noticed yet, it’s a new dawn. The ubiquitous coronavirus situation has engulfed Hamtramck, along with just about all other parts of the known world.
It has impacted virtually every aspect of human existence, in ways few, outside of perhaps a handful of pandemicists, had paused to consider possible.
Close-quarters hobnobbing in such establishments has been banned in the interest of public safety, in the face of an invisible, unpredictable and contagious enemy.
And so our bars and restaurants sit silent, waiting for word they can reopen. The clock ticks. For some, bills continue to mount.
Restaurateurs have scrambled to try to stay solvent under the constraints of what they are allowed to do. Many have taken advantage of the state’s OK for curbside pickup or delivery of food, or for other ways of serving patrons with minimal contact.
Many have decided that the risks to staff outweigh the need to make a buck.
Bar owners have not had the same “luxuries” (unless they have food licenses). Obviously, liquor doesn’t travel well, what with those pesky DUI laws in place. The squeeze is very, very real for the owners of these watering holes.
But the good word could come soon. Michigan has cautiously begun the process of a methodical reopening.
When bars and restaurants can open again, things are likely to be very different.
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association has published a 26-page guide entitled “Roadmap to Reopening: A Step-by-Step Guide to Navigating Restaurant Reintegration” (mrla.org/open).
It provides guidelines, broken down into sections, on how establishments can best serve the public, while still preserving public health.
Sections include:
 Expand & Establish Cleaning Procedures
 Develop a COVID-19 Response Team
 Employee Health & PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) Requirements
 Customer Health & Social Distancing
 Managing Food Pick-Up & Delivery
 Verify Third Parties
 Water Systems
 Menu & the Supply Chain
Such protocols will presumably have to be overseen by health departments, which could in turn find themselves strained, and in need of more personnel and budget.
That’s speculation, but on the other hand, so is a lot of this. We’re in a new era, a very different one from that which preceded it.
A business’s ability to thrive into this new future may depend to a large extent on how flexible and adaptable they can manage to be.
For Hamtramck’s storied food service industry, it can be no different.
Posted: May 22, 2020

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