How to Keep West Michigan Alive

Let’s face it: Local businesses need our help.

The second (or third?) wave of COVID has hit in a big way, with cases and hospitalizations higher than they have been all week. As dire as things felt back in spring, this is worse than that. Which is why Governor Whitmer has put new COVID restrictions into place, for at least the next three weeks — going into effect on Wednesday, November 16.

That doesn’t mean it’s time to panic, but it is time to be careful! Still, it’s clear the federal government isn’t going to be helping out businesses or people anytime soon, which means it’s on us to help each other however we can.

With indoor dining, bowling alleys, music venues and more all closing back up again, community support is pretty much the only hope of making sure they’re alive on the other side of this. Here are some of our tips for how to make that happen.

Gift Cards

Think of gift cards as a sort of small loan you’re giving out to local restaurants and breweries, that they’ll eventually pay back in food and drinks. Makes you feel powerful, doesn’t it?

But really, these are a perfect gift for a friend, or even for your future self! Many places are encouraging gift cards with great deals, like Max’s South Seas Hideaway’s selling a $200 gift card for $125. That’s a lot of tiki drinks!

Of course, salons, spas, movie theaters and more all have gift cards too — even Celebration! Cinema could use your help.

Local Gifts

Retail is still open, and we genuinely believe the best gifts come from your local shops, boutiques and gifts. Rebel, Dime & Regal, Art of the Table — just check out this month’s issue of Revue to see plenty of great finds! These places have unique gifts that you won’t find anywhere else, unlike Target or World Market (no offense).

You can also find unusual gifts at restaurants, breweries and distilleries! They have cocktail kits, merch, glassware, beer packs and more.

Order Takeout

This may be obvious, but restaurants will almost entirely rely on takeout orders in the coming weeks. And besides, aren’t you tired of cooking? Get your favorites, but consider branching out too, supporting that taco place you’ve heard about or maybe a different pizza joint this time. If we all need anything right now, it’s new experiences!


Without live performances, arts organizations are seriously struggling, and further COVID restrictions — while absolutely necessary — don’t help. Buy a season pass for your favorite theater or symphony, or just give them some money if you can! We know not everyone can afford this, but it’s something to consider.

Stay Safe

Above all, the best way to help the economy reopen and recover is to get COVID numbers as low as possible. Businesses will not reopen until that’s happened, even if the spread is coming from somewhere else, such as big holiday parties, rather than the businesses affected. So we won’t tell you what to do, but it may be better to miss out on some experiences now than have this lockdown last for months longer — or even lose a loved one and never have experiences with them again.

To be honest, it may seem illogical that certain activities are allowed while others aren’t. And that may be true, but unfortunately it comes down to our personal choices at this point to prevent innocent people from dying and hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. When we talk about “flattening the curve,” it’s not just numbers we’re talking about — these are real human people, with lives and loved ones.

So wear a mask, show love and patience to each other, and support local as much as you can!

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