Michigan bakeries remain open during COVID-19

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Alysa Kirn

An abandoned wedding cakes finds a new purpose as a public service announcement.

As COVID-19 and shuts down schools and restaurants, Michigan bakeries remain open to give customers something sweet.

Bakeries and pastry shops throughout the state keep their doors open to the public to come in and get a treat during the rough times. The scene has changed, but customers can still come in and walk out with their favorite treat.

“The only people really allowed up in the front are the customer service people,” said Christine’s Cakes and Pastries baker Angela Curley. “The decorators and the bakers are limiting the amount of time they’re upfront, and now the cookies that are normally out on display are pushed back a little bit and farther away from customers.”

In the meantime, spring cleaning has proven the best method for the bakeries to keep themselves healthy and their customers safe. Cleaning has also served as a time-killer for the slow times.

“Over the weekend we did a huge cleaning of everything in the back and the front. We are doing a lot more to keep from cross-contamination and we’re making sure we’re cleaning everything and washing our hands.” Curley said.

With warmer months quickly approaching and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order canceling large gatherings, customers are rushing in to cancel their cake and cookie orders for parties. 

“We’ve had about 50 cancellations of wedding, communion and birthday orders just in the last two weeks,” said Sweet Dreams Bakery owner Samir Daher. “Almost $14,000 to $15,000 in cancellations in two weeks.”

Whitmer’s recent announcement of a state-wide lockdown has left only essential businesses open. Golf courses and typical venues have closed, forcing couples to either push back or cancel their special day.

“A lot of brides are really upset because they still want to go through with their wedding and they’ve been looking forward to it for like a year or longer, but the venue is closing because of the order from the governor,” Curley said. “They have nowhere to do it and they don’t want to be stuck with a big four-tier cake.”

As conditions worsen, it is unclear when things will return to normal, but bakeries and businesses all around remain hopeful. Being left with orders already made and ready to go has made Curley get creative with her decorating. She’s turned simple wedding cakes and forgotten birthday cakes into public service announcements reading “wash your hands” and “practice social distancing.”

The bakeries attempt to keep a happy face on for their customers and themselves, but COVID-19 has been a harsh once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” Daher said. “Even though people compare it to the 2008 crisis, it’s even worse. This situation is affecting pretty much everybody across the board.”