Canal Park Seeing Increase of People with Restrictions Lifted

DULUTH, Minn.– As Coronavirus restrictions around Minnesota have started loosening up, Canal Park in Duluth has been seeing bigger crowds lately. That’s welcome news for business owners as the summer tourist season begins.

Canal Park isn’t as busy as usual for early June. Still, more people are visiting the area while businesses adapt to keep them safe.

“It’s kind of like a rollercoaster,” said Claude Nelson, Manager of I Heart Duluth store in Canal Park. “You’re excited but you’re a little scared.”

I Heart Duluth has been open since restrictions were lifted in late May.

It wasn’t an easy decision to reopen. But employees were ready to open the store back up. Staff spent the week before getting everything ready to meet state guidelines. All staff members are wearing masks and disinfecting surfaces every 30 minutes.

The store has had steady traffic over the last few weeks, but it’s still far from normal. Nelson says that’s okay because it means customers are social distancing.

“We are happy that people are being responsible,” said Nelson. “We understood opening back up there was going to be a financial hit and realistically, we’d like to see the state stay open.”

I Heart Duluth is also working on starting an online store. This will add a curbside pickup option for those who don’t want to come inside their Canal Park location.

Over at Little Angie’s Cantina and Grill, the outdoor seating has been at full capacity all week.

The cantina has always had outdoor seating on the patio, but that area has now been expanded onto the sidewalk in front of the building.

Buying more tables, chairs, and other items to make outdoor seating work does mean more expenses. But general manager Matt Baumgartner wants to use this limited reopening as an opportunity to show customers that restaurants are able to keep people safe while dining during the pandemic.

“We really hope that we can show and demonstrate that we’re doing it in a safe and efficient manner. Keeping both our employees and our customers safe,” said Baumgartner. “And with seeing that, our governor decides to turn the dial a little more and allow us for some indoor dining.”

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