Struggling businesses asking the city of East Lansing for COVID-19 relief

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Businesses along Albert Ave. in East Lansing’s downtown area on May 19, 2020.

Many businesses in East Lansing are struggling to stay afloat, after months of closures and on-going safety restrictions related to COVID-19.

“You ave these executive orders that limit the capacity of which you can operate in your restaurant. When you limit your capacity to 25%, its never going to work. You can’t take all those expenses, payroll for employees, and have a 75% in revenue lost.” Said Mark Bell, Ceo of Harbor Bay.

Mark Bell is CEO of Harbor Bay, which houses many businesses in downtown East Lansing.

Bell says, his retail shops aren’t the only thing struggling.

“We have 66 vacant apartments.”

They also own Newman Lofts in downtown East Lansing, which is an apartment complex for people of 55 and older.

He says, right now it’s hard to get people of that age to want to live down there.

They are asking the city for COVID relief, and what they want is for the city to let people who are under 55 move in.

“They want a permanent change, for a temporary problem. That’s at least the hope if you want to have the conversation of maybe renegotiating a ground lease or changing the wording. But this is what they agreed to.” Said Mayor of East Lansing, Aaron Stephens.

Mayor Aaron Stephens says the city council will discuss it on September 15th.

Harbor Bay says, if things don’t change soon they will sue the city.


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