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400K unemployment claims now flagged in Michigan fraud investigation

400K unemployment claims now flagged in Michigan fraud investigation

June 12, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Benefits have been restored to 140,000 people, but an additional 200,000 new claims now require verification as the state confronts identity theft.

Order extending halt in Michigan evictions may create 75,000 case backlog

Order extending halt in Michigan evictions may create 75,000 case backlog

June 12, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Landlords in many areas are working to reduce evictions.  With coronavirus, ‘the last thing we need is to increase our homeless population,’ said one tenant attorney in Flint.

Ann Arbor restaurant pioneer takes time reopening: ‘Everyone is anxious’

Ann Arbor restaurant pioneer takes time reopening: ‘Everyone is anxious’

June 11, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Mani Osteria was groundbreaking when it opened 9 years ago. Now, founder Adam Baru joins restaurateurs across Michigan in plotting how to safely reopen after a coronavirus shutdown and restore lost sales.

Pandemic may mean big profit to Michigan insurers, tiny rebates for drivers

Pandemic may mean big profit to Michigan insurers, tiny rebates for drivers

June 10, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Travel fell by more than 40 percent amid the pandemic, which experts say could reap insurance companies sizable profits. Ordered by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to pay rebates, most are paying 15 percent to 20 percent. That often amounts to about $50 or less.

Frustrations rise over 340K frozen jobless claims, Michigan’s lack of answers

Frustrations rise over 340K frozen jobless claims, Michigan’s lack of answers

June 10, 2020 | Paula Gardner

About 340,000 accounts in the state’s jobless benefit system received ‘stop payment’ alerts in May when officials launched an investigation into identity fraud.  Now, lawmakers and the jobless are becoming frustrated over the agency’s lack of answers about the probe.

Michigan restaurants can now reopen.That doesn’t mean most will.

Michigan restaurants can now reopen.That doesn’t mean most will.

June 8, 2020 | Paula Gardner

The state’s dining industry is allowed to reopen with some restrictions Monday, but about half won’t open right away. Some still see financial risks and others are sorting out their health precautions after COVID-19.

Six of seven Michigan small businesses don’t expect to regain lost sales

Six of seven Michigan small businesses don’t expect to regain lost sales

June 4, 2020 | Paula Gardner

As Michigan begins to reopen, 87 percent of Michigan small businesses forecast sales declines. A survey also shows more business owners favor President Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic than they do that of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

In downtown Kalamazoo, store owners erect plywood and brace for damage

In downtown Kalamazoo, store owners erect plywood and brace for damage

June 2, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Windows were smashed along a street filled with small, independent businesses in this West Michigan city. As Tuesday evening loomed, there was sympathy for sincere protests against police violence, and fear of what “outsiders” might have in store.

Michigan recovery plan calls for keeping businesses alive amid coronavirus

Michigan recovery plan calls for keeping businesses alive amid coronavirus

June 1, 2020 | Paula Gardner

‘During a time of crisis when you have limited dollars, you really need to make sure that whatever you are spending helps as many people as possible,’ says Doug Rothwell of Business Leaders for Michigan.

Michigan stores can reopen. It’s unclear how many shoppers will follow.

Michigan stores can reopen. It’s unclear how many shoppers will follow.

May 29, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Coronavirus closed nonessential stores across the state, but now retailers can start to reopen. The return to in-person sales could be the start of a rebound for the struggling sector —  and more jobs for unemployed residents.

‘Unusual situation’ pushes 50-year bookstore owner to make survival decisions

‘Unusual situation’ pushes 50-year bookstore owner to make survival decisions

May 28, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Some of Michigan’s retailers will still wait weeks to reopen, as they align staffing, their finances and how they’ll follow state guidelines. This is one story among them, as the owner of Curious and Archives in East Lansing grapples with coronavirus impacts.

Q&A with Rich Studley: Michigan hurt by ‘arbitrary’ coronavirus shutdown

Q&A with Rich Studley: Michigan hurt by ‘arbitrary’ coronavirus shutdown

May 28, 2020 | Paula Gardner

“Are we heading toward another lost decade?” CEO Rich Studley recently tweeted.

Michigan stores are reopening. Masks are required. Who’ll enforce it?

Michigan stores are reopening. Masks are required. Who’ll enforce it?

May 27, 2020 | Paula Gardner

The state’s retailers can reopen by following coronavirus safety guidelines, but that may cause new problems. Now they’re caught between customers who won’t wear masks - and those who expect it.

Coronavirus air travel: a postcard from a Michigan to Tampa-bound plane

Coronavirus air travel: a postcard from a Michigan to Tampa-bound plane

May 26, 2020 | Paula Gardner

As Michigan creeps toward re-opening, Bridge Business Editor Paula Gardner shares what it’s like at Detroit Metro Airport and on a crowded airplane.

Michigan travel industry feels ‘pressures in all directions’

Michigan travel industry feels ‘pressures in all directions’

May 26, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Tourism drives billions of dollars into the state’s economy. Now, after months of coronavirus shut-downs,  it’s starting summer without answers on when it can attempt to do that again.

Northern Michigan stores scramble to greet tourists. Well, some stores.

Northern Michigan stores scramble to greet tourists. Well, some stores.

May 24, 2020 | Alexandra Schmidt

Not everyone in Traverse City and other coastal vacation hubs are geeked at the arrival of tourists on Memorial Day weekend, days after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted restrictions on northern Michigan businesses. 

6 lessons Michigan restaurants and bars can learn from Florida's reopening

6 lessons Michigan restaurants and bars can learn from Florida's reopening

May 21, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Some Michigan restaurants can reopen this weekend, but COVID-19 is still changing the industry. These lessons from Florida, which reopened dining room access earlier this month, offer insight into how the new rules are reshaping business.

Coronavirus has spared the Keweenaw Peninsula but may kill summer tourism

Coronavirus has spared the Keweenaw Peninsula but may kill summer tourism

May 18, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Untouched until now by COVID-19, this Upper Peninsula tourist haven needs thousands of downstate visitors to keep its economy alive. The opening of restaurants and bars may not be enough to save many of its businesses.

Over 1.7 million applicants push Michigan unemployment system to the brink

Over 1.7 million applicants push Michigan unemployment system to the brink

May 13, 2020 | Paula Gardner

State legislators got their first look at overall jobless claims Wednesday after two months of coronavirus layoffs. Eight percent of applicants still await payments.

Long-term changes proposed for Michigan’s unemployment system

Long-term changes proposed for Michigan’s unemployment system

May 12, 2020 | Paula Gardner

With 1.3 million residents filing for jobless benefits, the system is under a spotlight. Now, some policy experts and Democrats say, it’s time to revise it. Business leaders aren’t sure.

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