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It Took Coronavirus to Convince Detroit to Turn Residents’ Water Back On

Thousands of customers who couldn’t afford their water bills began getting services shut off in 2014

A hand with short nails runs under a water faucet in a white sink.
The city has placed a moratorium on water shut offs due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Detroit places a moratorium on water shutoffs

Thousands of customers in Detroit who couldn’t afford their water bills have been living without running water to their homes since the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department abruptly began turning off services to customers behind on payments back in 2014. They, alongside activists and public health experts, have been fighting for the past six years to get that water turned back on. Now, thanks to the threat of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, public advisories about handwashing, and the work of those activists, Detroit announced this week that it would pause shutoffs and begin restoring service to households.

Customers who are at risk of having their water shut off or who already have had their water services halted must call and make an appointment at 313-386-9727. For 30 days, the state has agreed to pay to restore water services and after 30 days customers will be required to pay a $25 per month fee to turn water back on and maintain services “until the COVID-19 outbreak passes.” After the concerns over COVID-19 have subsided, Detroit plans to revert customers back to the previous payment plan that left many people in the community for years without a source of clean water for drinking and washing.

Pontiac gains a Jamaican restaurant next month

Flavors of Jamaica, the new restaurant from pop-up and catering outfit Irie Occasions, is preparing to open its doors on April 4. The restaurant, located at 406 N. Telegraph Rd., will serve classic Jamaican food from chef Reniel Billups in a casual sit-down atmosphere. Think: curry goat, oxtails, and jerk chicken.

Macomb County sushi restaurant plans new outpost

Goblin Sushi Bar in Clinton Township is gearing up for expansion just months after opening its first location on Gratiot Avenue. The restaurant announced on Tuesday that it had received a $30,000 investment to open a second location in Sterling Heights.

Fast-casual Mexican chain Chipotle is heading to Detroit

Detroit occasionally gets blessed with a new chain location that in any other market would be barely a blip in the news cycle, but here inspires excitement. Think back to the fervor over Detroit’s first Applebee’s on Eight Mile or the new outpost of Panera Bread. Next up to bat is Chipotle Mexican Grill. Under a new proposal, developers plan to demolish a vacant church near Mack Avenue and Fisher Road and replace it with Detroit’s first outpost of the carnitas burrito maker.

Chicken chain plans expansion and fights trademark lawsuit

Sobeck Enterprises Inc, the parent company of metro Detroit’s Chicken Shack, is fighting back against a trademark challenge filed by California-based smoothie company Robecks. The broasted chicken chain received a cease and desist letter from Robecks shortly after filing a trademark application for the term “Sobecks.” The family-owned company has since countered with a lawsuit.

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Chicken Shack

1320 E 11 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 541-5100 Visit Website