Coronavirus leads to carry-out season
By Shauna Stocken
Editor in Chief
On March 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Michigan as the first cases of the coronavirus were confirmed.
Whitmer’s decision will allow response teams to maintain the community’s safety, security and health.
This act, aimed to prevent workplace exposure to the virus, has many workers facing wage decreases and hardships.
“I lost my job,” said Aaron Yerke, a former cook at East Lansing’s HopCat bar and restaurant. “It was 100 percent from the coronavirus because they forced shut down (of) the restaurant.”
According to Yerke, when bars and restaurants closed their dine-in services March 16, the added measure hindered restaurants’ ability to serve the same capacity of customers as before.
“Previously, we would usually run close to $20,000 on a busy day and it went to doing a $100 of sales in like four or five hours at a time,” Yerke said. Despite HopCat closing its doors, many local restaurants have remained opened, serving customers through delivery, quick pick-up and curbside options.
One of these locations is Strange Matter, located at 2010 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing.
“We want to help people get the things that they want as well as the things they need,” said Strange Matter coffee barista Kaylee Beridon. “Of course, we do want people to be cautious and follow what’s being suggested, so if you don’t feel good of course take the necessary steps of staying in.
“It isn’t something we want people to be afraid of, necessarily, but it is something that we want people to be cautious of. So we’re welcoming people in, but also make sure if you don’t feel good, pay attention.”
According to Beridon, to help the community and customers facing a loss in wages, Strange Matter Coffee held a “need drive” March 14 and 15.
Following the drive, on March 16, the Greater Lansing Food Bank collected 927 pounds of food, estimating that it would fulfill 1,200 to 1,400 meals.
“The food is going to all of the Lansing Public Schools,” Beridon said. “Since all of them closed down, we want to make sure we are donating everything that we can so we make sure that families that need it have the option in front of them.”
According to LCC alum and local personal chef Daisy Yang, the coronavirus has impacted her work greatly as a meal provider.
“I’ve lost like eight clients; it definitely affected me that way,” Yang said. “They’re not working at the moment in Michigan, so they’re not flying into Michigan needing prepared meals.”
Yang said she plans on ordering takeout from Lansing’s AI Fusion and Art’s Pub in the coming week.
“I’ve always supported local business,” said Yang. “I think it’s really important to keep them in business by supporting their business as much as we can during this time.”
According to Yerke, purchasing gift cards is one of the best ways to support the places that most people would have been dining.
“People should continue to support restaurants at the most frequent rate they can without putting their own personal financial security in danger,” Yerke said.
Aside from purchasing online gift cards for current or future use, residents hoping to support local restaurants and bars can do so while social distancing in the following ways:
Shop online or over the phone: Many local businesses offer merchandise, specialty coffee beans and more online that can be purchased and shipped directly to homes.
Order out: Many people feel more comfortable staying home. Many local restaurants are offering discounts and promotions for ordering online. This option is for people feeling well enough to leave their home for curbside pick-up or instore quick pick-up.
Delivery: Order online, pay online and have food left at the doorstep; no contact necessary. Remember to tip online before placing an order. This option can be completed online or over the phone for a friend or family member in need of a warm meal or treat during social distancing.
Leave a review on social media: This option is free and will help promote favorite restaurants or bars. Leave a review about a recent delivery experience, or simply subscribe to the email list to stay informed on upcoming promotions and discounts available.