Cass County businesses struggle amid increase in COVID-19 cases

CASS COUNTY — Cass County businesses continue to feel the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Tuesday, the county has reported 924 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths according to the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department.

The recent uptick in cases has forced some businesses to adjust their hours of operation, and others to temporarily close their doors.

The Marshall Shoppe, 138 S. Front St., Dowagiac, will reopen Monday after being closed since Oct. 19 due to COVID-19 concerns. Deck The Halls, 202 S. Front St., Dowagiac, closed its storefront last week due to the recent surge of COVID-19 in the area and plans to reopen Tuesday with its seasonal hours.

Porky’s Party Place, 1119 E. State St., Cassopolis, closed temporarily due to an employee testing positive for the virus on Oct 22. Porky’s Party Place owner Sherry File said the business hopes to reopen its doors on Friday.

“I worked closely with the health department,” File said. “We sanitize everything and wear masks, but [Cassopolis High School] was compromised due to COVID, and an employee ended up testing positive. I felt it was the right thing to close until Friday, which would be eight days since the employee was at Porky’s.”

According to File, Porky’s has been in business for 38 years and has been able to adapt to the fluidity of the pandemic.

“We have been lucky to be open throughout the whole pandemic,” File said. “We do mostly carry out so we stayed very busy with the influx of Chicago people retreating to Diamond Lake.”

Product supply, or lack thereof, is another hurdle business owners like File have to navigate during the pandemic.

“For some things, you don’t even get a notice that it had been discontinued or isn’t available,” File said. “It can be frustrating when you’re still trying to stay afloat.”

George’s Cafe, 9339, 930 E. State St., Cassopolis, has managed to stay open throughout the pandemic, but according to owner Robert George, the process has not been easy.

“It’s been tough,” George said. “Right now, we’re open at 50 percent seating capacity. We do lots of sanitizing and cleaning. The cost of doing business has increased, and with less customers coming in, it’s not a good mix. We’ve seen an increase in takeout orders because people are leery of dining in, and we also offer delivery for people who can’t take it out. That has helped to supplement the decrease in dine-in traffic.”

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