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.