Governor Walz Is Turning The Dial Again On Covid-19 Restrictions; Bars And Restaurant May be Impacted

DULUTH, Minn. – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is expected to tighten the belt on safety guidelines as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the state.

One of the new rules slated to be announced would require bars and restaurants to only be open for takeout orders.

Restaurant owners around the region are reacting to the impacts this curveball could have on the hospitality industry.

Back in March, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz closed all bars and restaurants to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The quick action then came as a shock for many of these business owners.

“The first shutdown was enormous. It really knocked the wind out of all of us. We wondered what are we going to do how are we going to reinvent ourselves,” said Jason Vincent, co-owner of the Boat Club Restaurant.

Those guidelines were later loosened allowing bars and restaurants to slowly get back to normal business.

Now, Governor Walz is turning back the dial again, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike.

“I support what the Governor is doing. I think he is doing the right thing. The sooner we can manage this the better,” said Carla Blumberg, co-owner of At Sara’s Table.

With a lot more experience dealing with the pandemic, some owners believe they are way more ready this time.

“I will say we’re prepared. I just ordered a bunch of to-go packaging,” said Manager of Corktown Deli Valerie Bigelow. “We are just making adjustments every day is the best we can do right now.”

Even though these businesses are ahead of the game, these new rules could mean another big financial hit for the industry, including the possibility of more layoffs.

The co-owner of At Sara’s Table is already feeling disappointed about the thought of having to let people go.

“You get to know everybody, they become your family,” said Blumberg. “It’s tough to decide who to leave by the side of the road.”

Although tough decisions like layoffs could be in the future, Blumberg says she is keeping her focus on adjusting to the new guidelines as restaurant owners across the state try to stay optimistic about continued support from customers.

“This one seems like we are still able to go and do our business they just don’t want those gathering spots open. I am encouraged that may keep people out and about,” said Vincent.

While many of these businesses made it through the first shutdown, industry leaders believe more restaurants may now end up closing for good because of these latest restrictions.

The Duluth Local Restaurant Association has asked restaurant owners in the area to write government leaders to help push for financial assistance during this time.

Unlike at the start of the pandemic, malls and other retail businesses are not on the new list for shutting down.

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