DETROIT – Things are lively in the city with many of the restaurants in Downtown Detroit and Corktown either closed Memorial Day or swamped and short-staffed.
With Monday marking the unofficial start to summer, they’re hoping to cash in on the long wait to be waited on. Starting Tuesday, the state will see some of the biggest changes to pandemic restrictions in months.
Restaurants will be able to open indoor dining areas to 50 percent capacity. Tables will be able to seat more than six people and won’t have to be six feet apart. Neither will people on dance floors or other communal spaces.
The 11 p.m. curfew will also be lifted, letting bars stay open three hours longer, a big revenue driver for most restaurants.
“Our customers have been very loyal. We’ve been busy every night,” said Lara Slaughter of Ottava Via.
At Ottava Via in Corktown the lunch rush was busy, the Memorial Day weather and a large patio a saving grace.
“We’ve had to make adjustments. We opened up an expansion area. We turned our bocce ball court into a dining area. So we’ve had to do different things to make that happen,” said Slaughter.
But many restaurants are still struggling with getting employees to return. Many places are being forced to cut back on hours as their guest count is set to rise.
“Just coming back in general that’s the trick, is trying to get people to come back and trying to entice new people to apply for both back of house and front of house,” said Slaughter.
A new hurdle for restaurants as they get one step closer to a new normal.
Also Tuesday, outdoor spaces like concert venues and sports stadiums will be back open to full capacity.
That is another big business driver for restaurants especially in the heart of Detroit. The first test of that will be in just a week when the Tigers play at home on June 8.