COVID-19 causes local businesses to close

Rachel Greene, Editor-in-chief

While struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 epidemic, many restaurants and businesses in Macomb have been forced to reduce hours, staff or shut down altogether.

The Subway on East Jackson Street suddenly permanently shut down earlier this week. In Macomb, people have become accustomed to having two Subways, one located on West Jackson Street and one on East Jackson Street. There is an additional Subway located inside Walmart, but the others are standalone. Now, only one standalone location remains. No notice was given in advance of the closure, but the sign outside the restaurant reads, “Thank you Macomb for a great 30 years.” It has not been disclosed why the restaurant closed, but COVID-19 likely played a role.

While this is the most recent closure of a business in the Macomb community, it is not the only one. All restaurants in the area were impacted by the Executive Order made by JB Pritzker, ordering people to stay at home except for essential reasons, but many have continued to struggle over the course of the past few months. Lex Buffet posted in the McDonough County Restaurant Daily Specials page on Facebook last week, “We thank you for your business. We cannot continue to operate due to the epidemic. We are sorry to announce that we will be permanently closed!” The business which opened this past June was operating at half capacity.

 he Whytehouse is another restaurant that has taken a hit amid the COVID-19 epidemic. While they opted not to close their doors, they are operating at a lesser scale than usual. Restaurant owner Mable Kreps wrote, “After much consideration, The Whytehouse has debated the pros and cons of closing our doors and have decided to stay open for indoor  dining, take out and curbside pickup… we will continue to service at limited capacity, socially distance and wear masks to help protect our staff and customers.”

As of Wednesday, Vitale’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria was forced to close temporarily due to a positive COVID-19 test among their staff. Owner Julie Vitale Dienst wrote, “We have had a staff member test positive for COVID. Some of us have to quarantine until the 20th and since we have such a small staff we have to close for the duration.”

Existing businesses may be struggling, but other new businesses continue to brave the economic terrain in order to open their doors, such as Starbucks and Craving Chicago food truck. Information on the current hours and status of all local businesses and restaurants can be found on the macombareachamber.com website, this list is constantly updated and new businesses are added regularly.