EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Because of a high number of COVID-19 cases, Michigan State University is going online for the first three weeks of the semester. Some East Lansing businesses said those students make up a majority of their customers.
The owner of Crunchy’s, Mike Krueger, said the restaurant relies on students for business.
“We’ll hopefully get through it. It’s not gonna be the end all but it definitely… it hurts right now,” Krueger said.
Fewer MSU students mean fewer customers and staff. The General Manager of Barrio, Deanna Kascsak, said most of her staff are students.
“I’d say 95% is students,” Kascsak said. Some of the staff at Barrio extended their time off after MSU made its announcement.
“With COVID alone staffing was difficult and then to add on everybody leaving town… so we just kind of staff as we can and work within our means,” Kascsak said.
She said they’re making do with the staff they have. Kascak said while fewer students are coming in, she’s seeing more locals instead.
“A lot of people that maybe try to stay away from downtown East Lansing during the height of the school year,” Kascsak said.
Over at El Azteco, Assistant General Manager, Bill Smalley, said MSU students do account for a lot of their profits and staffing, but the restaurant supports the university’s decision.
“If they don’t want to bring back the students, obviously it’s in the best interest of public health and we will wait for them to bring them back,” Smalley said.
For the students who are back in East Lansing learning remotely, the owner of Crunchy’s had an idea to bring some of them in.
“They’ll still be doing their stuff online. We got WIFI here so they can come take their class here,” Krueger said.
MSU said it will monitor case numbers for the first three weeks of the semester to determine future measures.