Michigan businesses not ready for another lockdown

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BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- COVID cases in Berrien County are lower than in other counties in the state of Michigan. Business owners tell ABC57 it wouldn’t be fair for the state to go into another shutdown and penalize businesses in the county when cases aren’t as bad as the east side of the state.

“We just came out of a year where we had the most state-mandated small business closures in the nation. And so the fact that we are still where we are at with this virus is incredibly discouraging,” Southwest Michigan Chamber President Arthur Havlicek said.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Michigan, many business owners in St. Joseph have voiced their concern to the Southwest Michigan Chamber whether or not they should plan for the worst.

Just last week, the director of the CDC recommended the state shut down schools and businesses again, since the state is now leading the nation in both new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations with over 7,000 new patients diagnosed each day.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer pushed back refusing to issue another covid order.

“We didn’t know a lot about this virus a year ago. So, we took action and, we were quite successful compared to the rest of the country. At this point, we are now 14 months in and people are tired. Every single one of us is tired of this. We are seeing people abandoning the protocol,” Governor Whitmer said.

Business owners tell ABC57 they aren’t ready for another shutdown either. The Buck Burger & Brew on State Street in St. Joe just reopened its doors Thursday, April 8, after being closed for nearly five months.

“We certainly aren’t in a position where we can continue to shut down, and start-up and shut down. Our expenses just in this restart have been ridiculous,” Owner Ken Kozminski said.

The first COVID lockdown had a major impact on the local economy and some businesses are still trying to bounce back.

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