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Michigan restaurants worry tourists will bring COVID-19 to the U.P.

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IRONWOOD, MI -- Michigan has been one of the states hardest hit by COVID-19, with more than 50,000 cases so far.

It's a different story in the Upper Peninsula, where there have been so few cases
non-essential businesses have been given the green light to open.

Now that bars and restaurants in Ironwood can open, the question some owners are asking, 'is it worth it?'

"I don't believe that elbow to elbow is a good thing right now," said Debra Federico the owner of Mikes's restaurant.

She said the risk is definitely not worth the reward.

"I think your health is more important than opening a restaurant, as long as I can do takeout. I think people will understand that," added Federico.

At Mike's, takeout has been successful.

Across town at Brewster Bar, head cook Alex Larson said takeout alone is not paying the bills.

"I have a family to feed. So, I have to be out here. I have to do what I can do to feed my family," said Larson

He said opening will help, but the customer experience will be very different.

"Way less seating, six feet of distance. We have to make sure that after every use every table is wiped down. We can no longer have salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard on the table. All of the gambling machines, pinball machine, you can't have excess to those, because they're all touch-friendly." Larson said.

Larson added, he is happy to open, but he's worried the worst is yet to come.

"I'm excited, but I'm nervous at the same time, due to the flock of people who want to come here, due to the fact that we don't have cases, and how many people want to get out of the major cities and come up here." said Larson.

Ironwood normally welcomes visitors in the summer, but this year many are hoping tourists, and the virus, stay away.

Meteorologist Alex Libby

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