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Plymouth Orchard & Cider Mill won't open in fall due to COVID-19

Jasmin Barmore
The Detroit News

A popular Michigan cider mill will not open this fall because of the pandemic, according to an announcement on its Facebook page.

Adam Bright, 16, left; Connor Moore, 16; and Griffin Lumetta, 16, all of Canton Township meet up at Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill after school in 2018.

Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill won't open "because the Covid-19 pandemic has presented too many public health obstacles for us to operate safely," said the orchard and mill on Warren Road in Plymouth.

"We believe that opening this year would be risky for our cider mill team, and our cider mill guests."

The mill said it made the decision with "a heavy heart" and that it is the first time the mill will have closed its doors in the more than 35 years since it has been open.

On Wednesday, Michigan recorded nine deaths and 517 cases from the novel coronavirus. The state's overall tally reached 89,271 and the death count hit 6,273, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The pandemic had its largest recorded case spike on May 12, when the state recorded 1,600 new cases based on the date of onset. The largest amount of deaths was recorded on April 16 with 165 COVID fatalities, according to state data.

The orchard said it would continue to make "our certified organic fresh apples and apple products, like our famous organic dried apples available through various outlets."

Representatives for orchard were not immediately available for comment.

Comments on the cider mill's Facebook page appeared mostly to applaud the mill for its "sacrifice" and the move as "completely understandable," with one poster promising "life long business." Some criticized the closing, with one post bemoaning "caving into the political panic."

An orchard in northern Michigan filed a lawsuit on Aug. 5 against Whitmer, two state agencies and the local health department in a challenge of the governor’s mask mandate.

The owners of Friske Orchards Farm Market Inc. in Ellsworth, near Charlevoix, said they received notice of legal action from local and state officials for failing to make customers and the firm’s 21 employees wear masks.

"This case is not about masks; it is about abuse of power," attorney David Kallman said in a statement. Kallman is the orchard’s attorney and also represented an Owosso barber who challenged the governor’s business closure order earlier in the pandemic.