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Local restaurants prepare for capacity and seating mandate changes starting June 1

Several COVID-19 mitigation efforts are being lifted in Michigan. At restaurants, outdoor capacity can be restored to 100%.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The end of Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer at Rose's in Grand Rapids. The lakeside restaurant is entering this season on a new page compared to last year. 

Several COVID-19 mitigation efforts are being lifted in Michigan starting June 1. At restaurants, outdoor capacity can be restored to 100% and parties larger than six guests can be seated at a table.

Rose's manager Chris Russo says they've been busy these last few weeks, but this change comes just in time for their busy season. 

"This is great for businesses -- reopening, getting back to normalcy, seeing customers and enjoying life again," she says.

Russo says she's looking forward to July 1 when their entire dining room and staff can be full again. 

"Our staffing level is what we can handle so we're hoping to get more staff in front of house and back of house," she says. "That'll definitely help."

Just across town, Donkey Taqueria will stick to seating smaller parties and 50% capacity outdoors. 

"We want to make sure everything is set up, appropriate and safe," General Manager Ciara Taylor says. "If you jump in right feet first, things can get chaotic. We want to have a good plan with all the pieces together so our guests and staff feel really good about the transition in front of us."

She says they'll re-evaluate the situation next month depending on their staffing, and she know that they're lucky to be able to make this decision right now. 

"Having the extra space helps us be able to maintain social distancing and not have to make drastic changes," Taylor says.

Both businesses say they're looking ahead to a brighter summer.

"We're definitely looking forward to being able to mingle and gather with our friends and family," Taylor says. 

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