The announcement of a second shut down, even if only for three weeks, definitely has put a damper on the upcoming holiday season. My significant other works in hospitality so I understand the frustration, for lack of a better term, even though it feels necessary to stop the spread of Covid-19.

This is the time of year where, normally, shopping areas are packed with people, families are coming to visit, and you can almost feel the holiday spirit in the air. But, if you're a local restaurant or bar owner it's not all bad news. At least not in downtown Kalamazoo.

In an effort to sustain local bars and restaurants in downtown Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo City Council, as of yesterday, has approved a resolution that would expand the area where patrons are allowed to walk with open containers. According to Mlive.com, this expansion still requires approval from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission before an estimated start date can be announced.

While being allowed to serve drinks to passing patrons isn't a long term solution to the loss local shop owners have felt, hopefully it will attract those that feel safe to venture out to our beautiful downtown area.

Originally, 20 businesses were included in the "drinking zone" but with the new resolution 13 more businesses will be added offering even more options. Keep in mind if you plan on visiting downtown that social distancing guidelines are still in place and people can only carry drinks they've bought from local bars or restaurants in the designated zone.

I've said this time and time again...this year has been stressful for people in all walks of life. If you're able to do so safely, check out our local shops. If you can afford to get take out from your favorite restaurant one night, I'm sure they would appreciate it.

You can find full details on the "drinking zone" expansion and upcoming events in downtown Kalamazoo here.

Speaking of upcoming events, here's a list of what's happening around Kalamazoo over the holiday season. Keep in mind, some events are subject to change due to the recent restrictions.

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