Small Town Bars And Restaurants May Be Hit Harder In Latest Shutdown

By being such a strong staple for these communities, the sense of togetherness will be missed.

DULUTH, Minn. – Bars and restaurants get by thanks to the support from their own community members, but due to smaller population sizes in certain communities, the impacts from this second shutdown may hit even harder.

Many businesses like the Mainline Station Bar in Floodwood, were just beginning to get back to normal operations after shutting down at the start of the pandemic.

Their customers were also getting used to mingling with the community once again.

“People enjoy coming out socializing, visiting, talking, laughing, and having a good time,” said Sheri Young, the manager of Mainline Station Bar.

For the next four weeks, small town bars and restaurants will join others across the state having to close again for in-person service.

Governor Walz has ordered these businesses to operate only for take-out or delivery until at least December 18th.

“It’s not looking good. Especially this time of year. It’s going to be a struggle,” said Young.

The city of Floodwood is a community of a little more than 500.

Mainline’s manager believes the size of the town will have an impact on how they recover from this latest lockdown.

“It’s a very small town. We don’t have a large population here to help us succeed,” said Young.

The neighboring town of swan river is slightly bigger with nearly eight hundred citizens and many business owners in that town have similar feelings about the impacts, but some say the new guidelines weren’t unexpected.

“We kind of saw it coming. COVID-19 is blowing up again,” said Kris Manetas, owner of the Swan River Red Eye Saloon and Eatery. “It was almost anticipated. We’re making the most of it.”

Manetas been working to open her restaurant since taking over from the previous owner. It was expected to open over the summer.

“We thought we were getting back in there and then all of a sudden we had to put the breaks on,” said Manetas.

The eatery was hoping to welcome customers inside starting next month, but now will have to wait until after the restrictions have been lifted.

Manetas says she is waiting for the day to serve patrons under normal circumstances as bars and restaurants play a big role in small towns.

“It’s so important to have these bars in the smaller communities. Nobody wouldn’t have anything to do if we didn’t have these establishments,” said Manetas. They are a meeting point for a lot of people.”

By being such a strong staple for these communities, the sense of togetherness will be missed as these businesses gear up to transition into the new guidelines.

“We’re going to miss the comradery in the bar, the people, the enjoyment, and the laughter,” said Young.

Mainline Station will offer take out and off-sale liquor during the next four weeks.

Swan River Red Eye is expected to open on December 1st with the restrictions in place.

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