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Grand Rapids Travel Updates & Openings

Updated:10/30/2020

The Experience Grand Rapids team is proud to call this community home – and not just because of our world-class art, culinary, craft beverage and outdoor recreation scenes. We also appreciate our people, who sacrificed much to help Michigan “flatten the COVID-19 curve” and pave the way for reopening the state economy.

Effective October 29, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued a set of rules to combat the further spread of COVID-19. We welcome visitors to Grand Rapids and Kent County with a reminder that these guidelines are in effect:

  • Masks are required in all enclosed public spaces as well as in all non-residential gatherings and all public transit systems. Any business can refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear face coverings. See more details below about face masks.
  • Social distancing of at least six feet is required both indoors and out. (Members of the same household are exempt from this requirement).
  • Indoor venues without fixed seating must limit gatherings such as conferences, banquets and weddings to no more than 50 people. Indoor gatherings with fixed seating are limited to 500 or fewer persons, and attendance must not exceed 30% of the seating capacity of the venue.
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 persons per 1,000 square feet. Outdoor gatherings with fixed seating are limited to 1,000 people, and attendance must not exceed 30% of the venue’s seating capacity. All persons must wear a face mask.
  • Restaurants and other foodservice establishments cannot exceed 50% of normal seating capacity and a maximum of six people can be seated at a single table. Guests at dine-in establishments must provide their names and phone numbers to assist with contact tracing.  
  • Retail stores, museums and libraries must not exceed 50% of total occupancy limits.

Face Masks & Coverings Required

To combat the spread of Covid-19 in Michigan, face coverings are required: 1) in all indoor public spaces, 2) in outdoor spaces where you cannot stay at least six feet away from people not in your household, and 3) when waiting for or riding on public transportation (including ride-sharing vehicles).

You do not have to wear a face covering when eating or drinking while seated at a restaurant. Children under five years old and those who can’t medically tolerate a face covering are also exempt from the order. Seven additional exceptions are listed in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' Epidemic Order.

This order applies to all Grand Rapids-area restaurants, retail shops, tourist attractions and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Visitors to attractions with outdoor areas such as John Ball Zoo and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park will need masks at admissions and should keep their masks handy in case they encounter a crowded spot outside.

Thank you for doing your part to keep Grand Rapids safe!

Please scroll down to read what’s happening in different sectors of the visitor economy. Not all businesses are opening all at once – many are still in the process of implementing health and safety protocols to help protect customers and employees. Be sure to call ahead or check Facebook to confirm hours of operation and other details.

We’ll update this page to reflect new updates, so check back often.

Airport

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has introduced a Fly Safe. Fly Ford. campaign to educate travelers on new precautions for their health and restore confidence in air travel. New safety features at the airport include continuous cleaning protocols, hand sanitizer stations, plexiglass dividers at interaction points, visual cues to reinforce physical distancing, and PPE available in concession areas and through vending machines. Passengers, guests and airport personnel are required to wear facial coverings throughout the terminal and all enclosed areas. Explore more airport safety measures and travel tips.

Hotels

Hotels are ready to welcome all guests traveling to the area. Indoor pools and exercise rooms will begin to reopen at reduced capacity. Attendance allowed at indoor gatherings is 30 people per 1,000 square feet so hotel meeting space can be used confidently. Please check with the hotel for details on specific amenities availability and safety procedures.

Dining & Drinking

Restaurants, breweries, distilleries, cideries, coffeehouses and other food service businesses can now welcome customers for in-person dining, in adherence with new state health and safety regulations. Many local restaurants have signed on to the Michigan Restaurant Promise, which spells out their commitment to guests—including daily staff wellness checks, spacing tables at least six feet apart, implementing CDC-approved cleaning and sanitizing protocols, and more. In return, these eateries request that guests adhere to certain safety measures, including staying home if you feel sick, wearing a face mask when not at your table and maintaining proper social distance. Check out the list of Michigan Restaurant Promise members.

Please search our dine-in listings for an open restaurant, and check with the location before you go—some will require reservations to comply with the state mandate to limit guests to 50% capacity. Some restaurants are expanding capacity by offering outdoor seating in new social zones. Face masks are required until you are seated. Guests at dine-in establishments must provide their names and phone numbers to assist with contact tracing. Refreshment Areas in some Social Zones, allow patrons of participating restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues to carry an open alcoholic beverage outdoors.

Still don’t feel comfortable dining in? Keep in mind that many local eateries are still offering expanded carryout and delivery service – including alcohol sales.

Attractions

All area attractions are permitted to open. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Grand Rapids Children’s Museum remain closed, but most other museums and attractions are open. (Some seasonal attractions close for the winter). Most performing arts companies are closed but many are hosting online performances. Face masks are required indoors and outdoors when social distancing isn't possible.

Shopping

Retail stores can now operate at 50% customer capacity. Rivertown Crossings Mall, Woodland Mall and Tanger Outlet Mall are open, though not all of its stores are. Select stores at all three malls are offering curbside pickup service. Other shopping areas like Breton Village Shopping Center and Gaslight Village are open for shopping. Many retailers across the region have upgraded their online shopping experience to expand access to their stores. Search our retail listings by merchandise category and neighborhood, and check with individual retailers for opening details. Face masks are required for all indoor public spaces and outdoors when six feet of distance is not possible.

Outdoor Recreation

You can explore all of our Grand Outdoors right now – bike, hike, fish, golf, visit parks, and canoe and kayak to your heart’s content. Just remember to remain at least six feet apart from anyone outside your household and if you can't you are required to wear a face mask.

Most parks remain open throughout the cold-weather season for nature walks, though restrooms may not be available. Area ski resorts are preparing to open for winter. Cross-country ski trails, ice fishing spots and fatbike courses provide plenty of space for social distancing. Lake Michigan beaches are eerily beautiful (and much less busy) in cold weather – just dress warmly!

The health and safety of visitors and residents is our paramount concern. Thank you for your patience as we reopen the right way – carefully and deliberately, with protocols and procedures in place to protect all of us as much as possible. We look forward to your visit!

The Pure Michigan PledgeThe Pure Michigan Pledge

Pure Michigan announced a statewide safety pledge for business, tourism and local communities. Building on the “Two Peninsulas, One Pure Michigan” message of strength and unity across the state during COVID-19, Pure Michigan is encouraging businesses, visitors and local communities to take the Pure Michigan Pledge, a promise to uphold local safety protocols and CDC travel guidelines to travel safely this summer season and beyond. Experience Grand Rapids has taken the pledge with pride.

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