The Reopening of Oakland County – With the governor’s recent extension of the stay home stay safe order, and the release of the opening in phases plan, Oakland County residents are likely all wondering what will happen around here when things are allowed to roll again (safely).
But for now, nobody can say for sure how far away Phase 6 of the Governor’s plan to reopen is. So, the big question is… who is going to be able to “hang in there” and who is going to want to just break out and get back to normal? And, if you do break free, what are you willing to do and not do? Will you go to a restaurant? Go to Somerset or Great Lakes Crossing to shop? What about a movie or the Detroit Zoo? Or a crowded baseball game at Jimmy John’s field?
DISCLAIMER – Per usual, I’m going to leave politics out of this column. I’m also going to leave my personal opinions out of the equation. After 2 months of this, I’m sure everyone reading this is tired of hearing everyone else’s opinion on covid-19.
We (at OCM) deal with, work with, and talk to A LOT of big businesses, local small businesses, and local government officials. To say that opinions “vary wildly” as to what should be done is understating the chasms that currently exist regarding covid even among local mayors and heads of local city departments.
The Reopening of Oakland County – Different Cities / Different Approaches to Reopening
On May 2, the City of Huntington Woods canceled ALL activities through Labor Day. No pool, no fireworks, no concerts, no camps, no youth sports, no meetings… nothing. This conclusion was decided on May 2nd. They didn’t wait for any sort of Governor Whitmer mid-May update. The City of Berkley similarly threw in the towel in a statement on May 7 while vowing to remain “Berkley Strong.” The City of Oak Park also tapped out in early May by pulling the plug on Summer Blast, summer camps, the farmers market, summer concerts, Fun Fest, and even opening the city pool. Ditto for Madison Hts which ditched all summer camps and the annual Festival in the Park fireworks celebration. The Village of Holly canceled their 4th of July fireworks on April 30, but are opening the farmers market on May 17 (tentatively).
Other cities in Oakland County are having a “wait and see” approach to summer. The City of Troy is being patient and hanging in there by stating they’re working hard to open their awesome Family Aquatic Center for summer and moving forward with their Farmers Market. Independence Twp Parks, Rec, & Seniors (Clarkston) has taken their most popular events and scheduled them in August (Kids Day In The Park, Kids Only Garage Sale). They are also full-steam ahead in regards to summer movie nights, the spray park, the Tons of Trucks event, and the opening of Deer Lake Beach. The City of Birmingham is working to move their popular summer concerts & movie events to safer dates. These cities, and many others, will have to cancel these events if ordered but are doing everything they can to try to make them work… safely.
The Reopening of Oakland County – The County Itself Seems Confused
The indecisiveness isn’t just from city to city. It’s even internal within the County’s Executive Branch. It’s interesting for me to see, covering Oakland County as a whole, who decides what should be closed and what should be open – even within their own framework of government. I’m surprised to see that Oakland County won’t open the waterparks (Red Oaks Waterpark & Waterford Oaks Waterpark) this summer, but the Oakland County Market remains open. They’ve taken their fireworks events off the calendar, but the Oakland County sponsored Oakland County Fair (at this time) remains a go. Oak Ventures county-wide summer camps are off the table, but they are scheduling nature center programs at the OC Parks nature centers for kids beginning in July.
The Reopening of Oakland County – Far Beyond Government
I’m sure if you have a facebook page, you’re more than aware of the wide range of opinions also regarding covid. I personally know people that would go to Cedar Point or a Tigers game tomorrow if they could and wouldn’t wear a facemask or worry about social distancing. I also know friends that will most likely extend their their own personal quarantine all summer and rarely venture out. Right now, your local government officials and local businesses are like your facebook friends – they appear to be all over the spectrum in regards to how the Reopening of Oakland County should happen successfully.