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Hillsdale’s Cottage Inn Pizza has sus­pended all dining service and arcade activ­ities during this time. Liam Bredberg | Collegian

Local busi­nesses in Hillsdale have adjusted their ser­vices or closed down tem­porarily due to the impact of COVID-19 on safety and health. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” directive, issued March 24,  sus­pended all in-person oper­a­tions not nec­essary to sustain or protect life, with a few excep­tions for exercise or caring for the health of family members and other depen­dents. This directive will be in place until at least April 13. 

Hillsdale’s Cottage Inn Pizza has sus­pended all dining service and arcade activ­ities at its new location. The pizzeria is offering only pickup and delivery options until the directive is lifted. 

The sus­pension of in-dining ser­vices has neg­a­tively impacted sales and reduced three-quarters of the staff, according to owner Donna Olm­stead. Nev­er­theless, delivery sales have seen a slight rise. 

“We weren’t really ever known for a ton of delivery because we had a dining room. People who are often opting for a fast quick delivery wouldn’t nec­es­sarily choose us,” she said. “Now we’re seeing people opting for a more quality product. They under­stand the business situation.” 

Olm­stead said she has put safety first. All drivers were edu­cated on the safest way to deliver food — cus­tomers direct the driver where to place the food, the driver drops the food off, and the cus­tomer waits until they are gone to retrieve the food. When cus­tomers pick up pizza from the restaurant, workers are also san­i­tizing credit cards and hands with each transaction. 

“My first pri­ority is keeping my kids safe here. They’re part of my family,” Olm­stead said. “We need to make sure we’re doing right.” 

Maribeth’s in downtown Hillsdale has decided to close indefinitely. 

“I really believe that it’s the right thing to do because this is just so ter­ribly con­ta­gious,” owner Maribeth Watson said. “It’s less likely people are going to go out because there’s less places available. I worried about my com­munity and my staff. I know that we’ve done the right thing.” 

Maribeth’shad only seven staff members, but Watson said everyone sup­ported the decision. 

“Everybody has fam­ilies, and that becomes the first pri­ority,” she said. “We have had a won­derful staff for years, and everyone is in favor of doing what is right. We’re putting people in front of business.” 

According to Watson, her vendors will credit her for a sale if she adver­tises products on Facebook or Instagram that can be bought directly from the vendor. 

Handmade owner Derek Spiteri decided against doing deliv­eries and has kept normal hours of business for pick-up customers.

“The game plan was to keep every­thing as con­sistent as we could,” he said. “A lot of places offer delivery, and they backed out of it because it wasn’t finan­cially viable. It’s just another can of worms.” 

Spiteri says he is “trying to take it day-by-day and not make any rash deci­sions,” though he is con­sid­ering scaling back dinner hours. Spiteri says the normal lunch crowd has remained steady.

“We’re trying to keep it as normal as we can, so it doesn’t create any con­fusion for our cus­tomer base,” he said.