The Cloverleaf restaurant in Roseville is among the local eateries that are expressing relief at being able to serve people indoors again, albeit in restricted numbers.

The Cloverleaf restaurant in Roseville is among the local eateries that are expressing relief at being able to serve people indoors again, albeit in restricted numbers.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Restaurants reopen dining rooms at 25% capacity in Roseville, Eastpointe

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 5, 2021

 Updated rules stated that starting Feb. 1, Michigan restaurants could open their dining rooms at 25% capacity.

Updated rules stated that starting Feb. 1, Michigan restaurants could open their dining rooms at 25% capacity.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — Bars and restaurants in Michigan are tentatively celebrating being able to partially reopen their dining rooms after several months of being only open for takeout and delivery services.

As of Feb. 1, restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen at 25% capacity with up to 100 people. Additionally, tables must be 6 feet apart with no more than six people per table; outdoor tents with four sides are permitted under these same rules; bars and restaurants must close by 10 p.m.; their ventilation systems must be working; and contact information must be collected from diners for contact tracing purposes.

Local restaurant owners are responding to the updated rules.

Marie Guerra Easterby, the co-owner of Cloverleaf Pizza in Roseville and Eastpointe, said she is relieved that the restrictions are beginning to be lifted but is worried whether 25% will be enough.

“We will go with the flow, but we wish it was 50%,” she remarked. “It will be difficult, but we will try it out and reevaluate.”

Xhuliano Gjonaj, the owner of the Milestone Grill in Eastpointe, said his business had been solid after three days of being able to allow customers back inside to eat, but was similarly worried.

“We’ve had a pretty good turnout,” he said. “It’s sad to say we have to turn some customers down. As far as the 25% goes, we’re doing everything we can to follow those rules.”

He added that he thinks the 25% capacity restriction is unnecessary and that other safety measures should be sufficient.

“Honestly, I don’t see the point in the 25% capacity,” Gjonaj said. “I personally think, as long as people are 6 feet away and wearing their masks inside, it is enough, since we’re doing so much sanitizing after every customer leaves, I don’t see it becoming an issue.”

Easterby said takeout and delivery service has kept her business afloat the last several months but said it was a difficult time for many restaurants — some of whom she pointed out could not weather the storm for such a long time.

“We are thankful to be able to have carryout available for our customers,” she said. “We are utilizing DoorDash and Grubhub, which are helping to increase our delivery and carryout sales. There’s still a cost to use these services, so it’s more about offering availability to some customers.”

“This time around, it was difficult being takeout and delivery only,” said Gjonaj. “We still managed to come through, and I was doing everything I could to make sure our employees could stay employed here.”

Easterby said that she is worried many will still stay away from dining in restaurants for some time to come.

“I anticipate that there will still be a number of restaurant customers who are not ready to dine in even with this 25% availability,” she said. “Their confidence may possibly reappear as more of the population receives vaccinations. This will help to prevent the fear some have of dining inside. We look forward to the day when the pandemic is in the rearview mirror.”

Gjonaj hopes people will not jump the gun and lower their guard too much with restrictions starting to get less strict. In order for businesses like his to stay open, he says people still need to take basic steps like wearing masks in public and socially distancing.

“I strongly suggest everyone make sure they’re staying safe and if something happens if you get rejected at any restaurant, don’t take it out on the restaurant or the staff or the owners. We’re all just trying to follow the rules. I wish my place could be full from the time we open until the time we close.”