Ann Arbor starts to reopen; service workers petition to stay home; more businesses close for good

Credit: Main Street Area Association
Credit: Main Street Area Association

Happy Friday!

Ann Arbor city services and businesses began to reopen this week in what is a step closer to returning to normal. Playgrounds and the skatepark reopened on Monday, the city’s compost facility is now open and Larcom City Hall and public parking have returned to normal operations. Washtenaw County courts will remain closed for a bit longer as the state implements a four-phase reopening plan for courthouses.

Meanwhile, City Council approved the closure of several downtown streets on weekends for restaurants, bars and retail to extend their spaces outdoors in order to observe better social distancing as customers return. The street closures will begin today.

For those of you who can’t stand the heat, here’s some good news: We’re going to see a cool down this weekend so enjoy it while it lasts.

Have a great weekend.

- Meredith (@meredith_A4)

What’s been happening:

😷 Hundreds of service workers in the Ann Arbor area have signed a petition to extend the closure of businesses over fears of returning to work due to the coronavirus. “We are absolutely terrified,” the group’s organizer told us. (A4)

🍴 With less than a week to prepare for reopening, many Ann Arbor restaurants are struggling with safety concerns and rising food costs as they open their doors for dine-in service. (Eater Detroit)

🏳️‍🌈 Ann Arbor’s famed LGBTQ Aut Bar announced it will be closing its doors permanently after 25 years in Kerrytown’s Braun Court due to declining revenue. (A4)

🍝 Meanwhile fine dining destination Logan Restaurant also announced it will be closing after 16 years of business downtown. (A4)

🚲 Hundreds of cyclists of all ages participated in a silent ride in support of Black Lives Matter last weekend as protests against police brutality continue locally. (Michigan Daily)

🗣 The director of a free clinic at the University of Michigan that helps workers receive unemployment benefits weighed in on the most common problems people encounter when filing. (A4)

☕️ Espresso Royale, which has several locations in Ann Arbor and other Midwest college towns, announced Thursday it has "not survived the coronavirus pandemic” and will be closing permanently. (A4)

💵 U-M has sold nearly $1 billion in bonds as a way to manage debt and finance construction projects amid the coronavirus crisis. (A4)

😴 There’s a reason you might be feeling more tired than normal right now. Researchers at U-M say that life under lockdown due to COVID-19 can have a significant impact on our biological clocks, and they released a free app to track sleep patterns. (A4)

Good to know:

🍦 In good news, Blank Slate Creamery opened a walk-up window this week. Looks like summer in A2 wasn’t completely canceled after all. (A4)

🛶 In the market for a used boat to take on the river this summer? The annual Gallup canoe and kayak auction will take place next Wednesday. (A4)

🎦 See what’s on the screen to rent this week at the virtual Michigan Theater. (A4)

🎭 Parents, take note. Several local kids programs have taken their programming online. See what the Hands-On Museum, Safety Town and Wild Swan Theater have to offer this summer. (A4)

Feature interview of the week:

“We have a very small, loyal base that live around our area that we’re seeing -- so we’re very grateful for them.”

- Kristen Jackson, owner of Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea Plymouth Green who was recently featured in A4′s Small Biz Saturday series

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