It seems the Polar Vortex has finally ended. Even though at the time of writing this, the temperature is still a mere 1 degree, it's supposed to warm up significantly today (Friday), and be downright balmy this weekend.

While the Polar Vortex shut down city, county, and state offices, schools, and the USPS, the ones who are really suffering from the effects of the bitter cold are the small businesses around West Michigan who chose to close for the safety of both their employees and their patrons.

I lost count of how many stores, restaurants, and bars I saw posting that they were closed for business on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but there had to have been hundreds. I applaud these businesses for putting the well-being of their employees and customers above their need to turn a profit, and now is our time to help out those businesses and their employees.

Think about it, with all of those restaurants and bars closed, what happens to their employees like waitstaff, bar backs and bartenders? They are generally reliant on tips to pay their bills.

So, now that it's finally warm enough to leave your house, get out and support your local businesses. Mayor Rosalynn Bliss is even encouraging residents to do so: