ZEELAND — There is a good chance that Zeeland businesses will get some kind of financial relief as many are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Zeeland City Council has been discussing different ways to help the city’s businesses amid the stay-home order. Commissioners have talked about lowering the city’s property tax rate by 1 mill to aid businesses, which will go to a vote May 4.


The millage reduction is expected to be approved by council, said Zeeland Mayor Kevin Klynstra during a Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce webinar on Thursday along with other city leaders. They will also decide to forgo charging maintenance fees this year for businesses in the downtown district, which will save merchants approximately $500, Klynstra said.


“None of our businesses could have predicted or prepared for anything like this, but so many have hit the ground running and embraced the challenge,” said Zeeland City Marketing Director Abby deRoo. “I’m just so proud of them all on how they’ve adapted to this.”


DeRoo gave a few examples of how businesses have reacted creatively to operating during the pandemic. The Farmhouse restaurant has been “a staple through this situation,” she said.


The Zeeland restaurant has repackaged its menu to offer more family style meals for delivery and takeout. Customers can also order groceries from the restaurant including toilet paper, milk, eggs, meat and hand sanitizer with their meal for curbside pickup.


The limited amount of customers allowed in stores has made it so many retailers have had to make sure they have an online presence, deRoo said on the Thursday webinar. The Porch home goods store in Zeeland previously did not have a website, but recently created one to allow customers to still shop virtually at its store.


Along with golf courses, landscapers and garden centers, bicycle repair shops were also recently able to reopen with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s April 24 executive order.


Main Street Bicycle Co. of Zeeland was able to reopen, and is conducting as much business as possible outside of its physical store.


The bike shop posted on Facebook that it is keeping its front door locked and placing a tent at the back entrance with an employee to greet customers. Bikes can be checked in at the outdoor tent, and will be sanitized prior to entering the store and before they are returned to customers, the post reads.


“We are so excited to see you and work on your bikes again,” the shop posted on its Facebook page. “Thanks for being such an amazing community. We appreciate your patience as we navigate through this uncertain time.”


— Contact reporter Kate Carlson at kcarlson@hollandsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @SentinelKate and @BizHolland.