Mid-Michigan businesses react to lifted restrictions

LANSING, MI. (WILX) - Michigan's stay-at-home order is extended, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer lifted many of the restrictions, relieving infuriated and frustrated business owners.

Just hours after the order was released, the doors of the Lansing Gardens were back open.

"We are excited", said General Manager Kirk Franks.

Last week Franks told News 10 he and others in the plant and greenhouse industry were pleading with the Governor to allow them to work.

"To have people to be able to come in and buy plants again. We've been growing these for a month and a half and it's nice to see somebody else get to appreciate and enjoy them," said Franks. "Thank you Governor Whitmer."

Landscapers, lawn-service companies, nurseries, and bike repair shops are just a few of the business that can start working again as long as they follow strict social-distancing rules.

Shops that sell non-essential items like the Weathered Nest Vintage Market in Charlotte can also re-open, but only for curbside or delivery service.

The only issue for owner Nikki Schuiling is that she doesn't have an online store. She says many small businesses like hers are in the same boat.

"It's going to be still difficult financially even if we are able to do some sales, so only time will tell whether or not that will sustain us and how long it lasts before we can open up completely," said Schuiling.

She is doing online Facebook sales and working on completing a Facebook shop.

Another consideration for her is the safety aspect of reopening.

"Even though we are allowed to do this, do we feel comfortable doing this exposing ourselves to the public even if it is just for a few minutes to pick something up and drop something off," said Schuiling.

Some owners say the damage is done and today's announcement is too little too late.

"Immediate panic," said Aimee Anderson, owner of Eric Rogers LLC. "The fact that our customers have been waiting for us for five weeks and we've lost all that time to do spring cleanup and mulch install, but now they're going to expect us on Monday to start mowing immediately," said Aimee.

The company does lawn care, asphalt maintenance and paving, and concrete.They had to lay off all 15 employees because of financial woes and did not getting any grants or loans. They know some of their customers are also in tough financial situations.

"Now we gotta find a way to pay all our people when they come back," said Operations Manager Nick Anderson. "One of the biggest things is landscaping and construction were supposed to be continued under federal guidelines and they were not."

"The damage from this for this business as well as others is going to be going on for quite some time," said Aimee.

Big-box stores no longer have to close off garden centers or paint and carpet.
Outdoor activities such as golf and motorized boating are now okay.

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