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 The Hill in Grosse Pointe Farms, which would normally have cars lined up on either side of Kercheval Avenue during the dinner hour, was quiet March 16 as a statewide restaurant dine-in  shutdown took effect.

The Hill in Grosse Pointe Farms, which would normally have cars lined up on either side of Kercheval Avenue during the dinner hour, was quiet March 16 as a statewide restaurant dine-in shutdown took effect.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

Grosse Pointes adapt to pandemic

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 17, 2020


GROSSE POINTES — With closures and event cancellations cropping up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, good advice for local residents planning on visiting anything from businesses to nonprofits would be to call first.

On March 13, the Grosse Pointe Public Library issued a statement on its Facebook page that all branches would be closed from March 14 to April 5 “to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community.” Due dates for all library material returns are automatically being extended as a result. However, library officials say that residents can still access e-books and other digital resources through the GPPL’s website,

The Helm at the Boll Life Center in Grosse Pointe Farms, which provides programs and services for many seniors in the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods, is closed to the public until April 6.

“We will continue providing essential services, including Meals on Wheels and certain Information and Assistance programs,” a statement issued March 13 by Helm Communications Coordinator Karen Fontanive reads, in part. “Pointe Area Assisted Transportation Services (PAATS) will be fully functioning. Additionally, carryout lunch will be available daily for purchase. While we anticipate reopening on Monday, April 6, this is a fluid situation and we will reassess conditions as the date nears.”

The lunches, available weekdays, cost $5. Lunch reservations need to be made by 10 a.m., and lunches must be picked up between 11:30 a.m. and noon. For lunch reservations or more information about Helm programs and services, call (313) 882-9600 or visit

Staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide referrals by phone, and those needing to borrow items from the medical equipment loan closet can call in requests and pick up those items at the door.

Because AARP has suspended its tax preparation assistance sites nationwide, appointments that residents might have had at The Helm with a tax preparer have been canceled.

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores has canceled all programs until further notice. This includes the annual Easter Bunny visit, grounds tours, guided bird walks and member dog walks. Clare Pfeiffer, the director of communications and engagement for the Ford House, said by email that they are also delaying their public opening — which had been scheduled for April 1.

“We have not yet determined a date to reopen the estate as we continue to monitor closely the rapidly changing situation,” Pfeiffer said via email. “If people have already purchased tickets for an event, we ask them to check their email for updates and information.”

Starting at 4 p.m. March 13, The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms shut down its campus — including its grounds and gardens — to the public and “nonessential personnel,” according to a statement. 

In an updated statement released the afternoon of March 17, War Memorial officials announced that they were extending their closure to April 10 “due to growing concern over COVID-19”; it had originally been through March 20.

War Memorial officials said they would contact ticketholders and class participants to discuss exchanges or refunds.

“Private events and rentals will be contacted by their event coordinator to discuss next steps,” the War Memorial statement reads, in part. “Decisions regarding reopening the building and rescheduling events will be made in the coming days pending recommendations from state and local governments and announced as soon as possible.”

Anyone with additional questions can contact Senior Manager of Human Resources and Leadership Development Ericka Sobczak at or at (313) 332-4070, or Vice President of Community Engagement and Programming Brooks Hoste at or at (313) 332-4024.

On its website, the Neighborhood Club in Grosse Pointe City announced that as of March 13, it would be closing until at least the end of March, and all programs are suspended. The Thrift Shop and Recreation and Wellness Center are closed as well, until further notice.

The Full Circle Foundation’s Upscale Resale Shop in Grosse Pointe Park was slated to be closed for at least two weeks, starting at the end of the business day March 16. The March 28 Transitions Symposium has been rescheduled to Sept. 26.

Some private businesses are also closed as a result of the virus. By an executive order issued March 16 by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as of 3 p.m. March 16, the following businesses were scheduled to be closed until 11:59 p.m. March 30: restaurants, cafés, coffeehouses, bars, taverns, brewpubs, distilleries, clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas and casinos. Restaurants are still allowed to offer drive-thru, delivery and takeout services, although certain restrictions apply to those.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, markets, offices, food pantries, providers of medical equipment and supplies, warehouse and distribution centers, industrial and manufacturing facilities, drugstores and health care facilities were among the places that remained open.

“This disease is a challenge unlike any we’ve experienced in our lifetimes,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Fighting it will cause significant but temporary changes to our daily lives. By practicing social distancing and taking aggressive action now, the state is working to mitigate the spread of coronavirus so we reduce the risk that our health care system becomes overwhelmed. This is about saving lives.