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Local Businesses prepare to increase indoor capacity

ALPENA, Mich. — As Michigan’s vaccination rates continue to climb, we’ve seen more and more pandemic restrictions become a thing of the past.

Starting on June 1, outdoor events can return to normal with no capacity restrictions and indoor events will see an increase in their capacity limit- from 25 to 50 percent.

“I just feel that there’s a lot of people coming in here that feel safer,” said Norm Sommerfield from Alpena’s APLEX. “So many have gotten a vaccination.”

The capacity limit has been at 25 percent since February, when indoor dining resumed. Business owners in Alpena say it’s great to be able to get some sense of normalcy back- and the capacity limits mark a huge step.

“I think we’re all excited,” said Kris Conger from The Black Sheep Pub. “We’re excited for it to go up to 50 [percent] and then hopefully full.”

Sommerfeld says the APLEX is certainly looking forward to raising capacity limits, especially for the summer.

“It’s going to be great because one of the biggest we throw is concerts,” Sommerfeld said. “We’ve had concerts here where there’s been a thousand people. Being able to get back to those numbers- because I’ll tell you it’s been tough.”

At a press conference last week, Governor Whitmer said mask mandates and all mitigation measures during the pandemic will be lifted and Michigan can return to normal on July 1.

“It feels good,” Conger said. “I think we’ve all been waiting for it, especially since we’re going into our season here in Alpena.”