Storage units crammed with old couches and kitchenware are a long way from designer fashion. But as retail changes, so are the types of businesses that will survive in former anchor stores in the state’s malls.
Small community theaters anchor downtowns across the state, but they had to fight to survive capacity limits and state-ordered closures during the pandemic. They hope their recovery this summer is epic.
The state’s economic recovery from the pandemic may be limited, officials say, as fewer child care options keep women out of the workforce. It’s a business issue, too, for child care providers seeking available workers.
Office clothes are staples at Michigan’s dry cleaners, which saw revenues crater when workers stayed home during COVID. As offices now reopen, a 70-year-plus family business has new hopes for survival.
Fewer gyms, virtual workouts and lingering pandemic concerns all signal changes for the state’s fitness industry as it reopens to 50 percent capacity Tuesday, said Michael Stack, owner of Applied Fitness Solutions.
Changes announced Monday follow growing frustration among employers that the state had been too cumbersome and stringent at a time when the state’s COVID vaccination and infection rates were improving.
With state business restrictions set to end July 1, pandemic workplace rules — like health screening, social distance, surface cleaning and masks — will be updated this week. Business leaders are thrilled though they note tricky strategic decisions lay ahead.
If current vaccination rates continue, Michigan wouldn’t fully reopen for months under the governor’s current plan, endangering the summer tourist season. To business leaders, that’s untenable now that the mask mandate has ended for the vaccinated.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would lift pandemic office restrictions two weeks after 55 percent of residents got their first dose. Michigan reached that milestone Monday. Even so, offices aren’t likely to look the same as they were pre-pandemic.
The state’s battered restaurant industry hasn’t had a lot to offer workers during the pandemic. Now the industry is raising wages to compete with higher-paying careers, but owners say there still aren’t enough workers to fill jobs as summer approaches.
In Charlevoix, summer homes for wealthy visitors and the need for year-round housing will clash again this summer. Some housing advocates are trying new strategies to get around the problem that’s affecting the regional workforce.
A University of Michigan expert notes that corporate leaders are increasingly being drawn into state policy debates over race, voting rights and other social issues, and they “have the heft to be heard.”
‘We’ve got to get it under control,’ said the state’s building industry leader as skyrocketing costs threaten to stall the industry’s rebound and make homes less affordable: adding $24,000 to a typical 2,000-square-foot home.
COVID-19 has redefined work — and businesses whose livelihoods are tied to office workers are suffering. The issue is acute in Lansing, as the State of Michigan is evaluating all of its leases. Many of its 13,000-plus workers in the city may remain working from home after the pandemic.
A few companies issued general statements opposing voter suppression. But as Republicans press for voter ID requirements and other changes, it may be harder for the business community to stay on the sideline.