Kelsea Ellis, Lansing resident and former employee of Good Slice Pizza Co. in the city, is one of the thousands of restaurant and bar workers in Michigan left without a job and income. As of March 22, over 108,710 residents have filed unemployment claims, according to a Michigan.gov press release. “I have personally not received any money from the community and do not expect to,” she said in an email. “I’ve filed for unemployment and filed my taxes, so I’m hoping for some additional funds.”
Community support through GoFundMe
Ellis though has noticed people pitching in on crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe (that also has a small relief fund to help businesses) to help employees at local restaurants that closed due to COVID-19.
Ginny and Danny Cheung say their East Cafe has received seven phone calls from someone targeting their Asian restaurant because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Asian American advocacy groups report an increase in discrimination due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“There has been a lot more deliveries due to the coronavirus.” said Jordan Gagala. Gagala is a delivery driver for Panera Bread and has felt the impact of COVID-19. She said there have been a lot of bigger orders with much more food, and loaves of bread have been selling at an increased rate. Panera has also dropped the need to sign for food being delivered to stop the spread. Gagala said the store is closed for any on- site eating but the drive-through, rapid pickup stations and delivery services are still open.
National Pancake Day, Feb. 25, 2020, brought a lot of hungry people into IHop on 2771 E. Grand River Ave in East Lansing. Whether it was because of the free pancakes, because it was Fat-Tuesday or comfort food was a necessity after midterms, the reason IHOP celebrates National Pancake Day is to raise money for Sparrow Children’s Center.
Proposed legislation would change the way bars and restaurants use self-service dispensers for beer and wine. They’re already in use, including at restaurants in Marquette and East Lansing. We hear from the Michigan Brewers Guild, Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association and lawmakers from Watervliet and Saginaw Township. By Katrianna Ray.
Valentine’s Day is known for staples such as chocolate, love letters, flowers, teddy bears and romantic dates. Many East Lansing businesses thrive around Feb. 14. This certainly includes restaurants that go a step further to promote holiday specials. “Having a special increases business by a lot, because people look for deals and want the special rolls and drinks for the special occasion,” said Savannah Keasler, a supervisor and server at Maru in East Lansing.
This week on Focal Point, we’re live from a local flower shop to see how people are sharing the love on Valentine’s Day. Over the weekend, the Lansing Women’s Expo celebrated 20 years with more than 300 attendees. The Lansing Pup House celebrates Valentine’s Day with their pets during speed dating for dogs. In entertainment, the 92nd Oscar’s had a lot of firsts and Justin Bieber returns from a four-year hiatus with a new album.
Blue Owl Coffee shop looks like your typical coffee shop on the outside, but on the inside, it is quickly noticeable that it stands for so much more than just cappuccinos and muffins. Located in multiple cities in Michigan, the Reo location in Lansing on 1149 S Washington Ave, offers something unique. “At first, I came here to sing on a Monday night and was nervous, as I was not confident in my musical ability,” said Lyn Sawicki, the 73-year-old regular performer who participates in the Blue Owl’s weekly open mic night. “It is such a wonderful atmosphere, everyone is so encouraging and supportive, I was shocked and refreshed. This shop helped me reconnect with my music.”
Every Monday night, Blue Owl hosts an open mic night from 7:30-9:30 p.m. customers on a first-come, first-serve basis with 15-minute slots per person.
The Williamston Art Committee has applied for a grant in the hopes of commissioning four welcome murals for the city. The city has wanted to execute an art project for a long time and may finally get their chance to do so. The city has already selected one of the four sites the murals will go. It will hear back on the awarding of the grant by March.