Copper Country businesses adjust to new COVID-19 restrictions

This is usually the strongest season for Houghton County businesses, but that might change this year.
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 5:35 PM EST
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HOUGHTON COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Businesses across the U.P. are making changes as a result of the recent Pause to Save Lives order by the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, this is typically the strongest season for Copper Country businesses. This year, that might not be the case.

Support specialist Katie Schlief says the chamber is working to keep businesses connected with their customers during this three-week period.

“The chamber has started contacting small businesses in the Keweenaw area, and we have placed a link on our social media and website showing the contact list options and hours,” said Schlief. “Any businesses can contact us with their plan, and we’ll get it out on our media platforms.”

Keweenaw Coffee Works in Calumet is offering takeout and pre-wrapped food to keep customers healthy.

During the spring shutdown, the shop closed for two months, leaving every employee out of work. This time around, co-owner Valerie Baciak says she’s doing everything possible to take care of her staff.

“We have 14 families that work here, and I need to keep them with their mortgages paid and food on the table,” Baciak said. “They are the bloodline to this business, so we have to do whatever we can to look out for them.”

Kaleva Café in Hancock is staying open but reducing staff until the order is lifted. Employees say it’s important to find ways to help keep your favorite small businesses alive.

“You want to support your local businesses that are still trying to stay open, still trying to run the takeout,” said Kaleva cook Loretta. “It is really good to support the local businesses.”

The Chamber of Commerce is urging the community to order takeout, purchase gift cards, and do anything else they can to support small businesses during this challenging time.

“Our local businesses in the Keweenaw need you more than ever,” Schlief said. “We just want to keep them open and see our streets busy.

For more information on Copper Country businesses’ operations, visit the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce website or Facebook page.

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