“I’VE NEVER SEEN anything like it, ” says Zach Quinnell, the store manager for Econo Foods in Marquette. “I wouldn’t call it panic but we’ve been very busy.”
He’s right. You walk in the store the last few days and there’s three or four customers in every line even in mid-afternoon, but the store is not being overrun by customers and the lines at the counter are not unreasonably long.
The toilet paper shelves? Yeah, there’s still some available.
Empty shelves, yes, but also a supply of toilet paper for shoppers.
“There have been some allocations on things like toilet paper and sanitizers from our distributors,” Quinnell continues, “but we’re doing the best we can. And other foods? Produce and meats? We’re getting all that we need.”
He does mention, however, that he’s noticed that prices have been steadily going up in the last week or two.
Farmer Q’s? The cute little store in south Marquette has been much busier than usual as well. Owner Susan Brian says customers have told her they like shopping in a store where fewer people have been circulating.
It’s understandable that food stores are thriving because restaurants have been suffering, and now with Governor Whitmer’s mandated shutdown of restaurants, bars and coffee shops, as of Monday afternoon, the grocery stores may do better than ever.
Take-out will still be allowed at restaurants, but many are choosing to just shut down altogether.
No dine-in services, but Vango’s fans can still order take-out.
“We’ll be offering take-out,” says Michele Butler, the co-owner of Vango’s, “but we’re doing it only to provide a service to the community and to keep our employees working. We’re not going to make any money this. We’ll be losing money but, just as we always have, we care about the community first.”
Vango’s will offer a full menu but with restricted hours–from 11 am to 7 pm.
Babycakes and the Crib will also be offering takeout service.
No change at Everyday Wines but you do have the option of delivery or curbside service.
Everyday Wines? Yep, we still need the stuff. They will offer in-store service or delivery or curbside service to those who prefer to keep their distance from others.
The YMCA, after staying open, is now closed, and the City Commission meeting tonight will be closed to the public. It’ll be on TV and Youtube, according to city manager Mike Angeli.
“Our priority now is to maintain city services without interruption but we’re observing social distancing,” says Angeli. Might be difficult when police make an arrest. “We’re doing our best to limit exposure at City Hall. We’re asking people to use the drop boxes.”
UPHS on Monday also announced a severe limitation on hospital visitors and mandated health screening for all those trying to visit. Best to call the hospital before you head down there.
Major restrictions on visits and mandated health screening have been ordered at the hospitals in Marquette and Ishpeming.
The Marquette County Health Department, facing a barrage of inquiries, has set up a special coronavirus hotline to answer residents’ questions. The number is 475-9977, extension 9.
You got a pet that needs care? Bayshore Veterinary Hospital in Harvey asks all pet-owners to wait in their cars with their pets, rather than in the waiting room.
And finally, you might be wondering how the travel industry in Marquette County is doing.
“Well, I worked all weekend,” says Laura Chapman, the owner of Holiday Travel, “and the more I worked, the more money we lost.”
Cancellations. Cancellations. Cancellations.
They started with cruises, then Italy, now just about everywhere, and spring break, a peak travel season, is coming up.
“I just hope,” Chapman says, “that when this is over, people remember us. We’re a small business. We work for the community, we depend on the community.”
And it will be over, sometime. We’ll just have to buckle up for the next couple of months.