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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.