Eased Restrictions Allow Duluth Bars, Indoor Entertainment to Welcome People Back In

The Caddy Shack in Lincoln Park and Incline Station Downtown said they're excited to reopen for the first time since November.

DULUTH, Minn.- As Minnesota bars and restaurants are allowed to open with a limited indoor capacity, businesses with entertainment features said they’re looking forward to have people inside again safely.

“Being able to open the bar is equal parts exciting and, I think we’re a bit wary,” said Katherine LaFleur of the Caddy Shack Indoor Golf and Pub.

The Caddy Shack in Lincoln Park has been relying on people playing their golf simulators in the back since the Governor imposed a pause in November.

Now opening up to bar sales will help business, but LaFleur said she wants to make sure they do so safely.

“We’re a bar first and foremost, socializing is our goal,” she said, “so obviously we’re treading a pretty fine line, trying to navigate how we do that while also keeping our community safe.”

“But we’re incredibly excited to see people back in here,” said LaFleur.

According to the Governor’s loosened restrictions, indoor events and entertainment – like bowling alleys, movie theaters, and museums – may open at 25 percent, with no more than 150 people in each area of the venue.

In addition to the plexiglass and spaced out tables already present, the Caddy Shack installed a new HVAC Air Filtration system in the bar.

The new rules also require face coverings, and businesses may not offer food service after 10 p.m.

According to LaFleur, Caddy Shack staff has also been having more conversations with customers about wearing masks whenever they’re not eating or drinking.

“They see the need and they see the fact that if they don’t wear it, the consequences are that we’re not gonna be here,” she said.

Still LaFleur thinks that as time goes on, the new normal will start to look like the pre-pandemic days.

“I think that as we kind of progress and as vaccinations continue throughout the Northland community, we’ll see people starting to feel more comfortable re-entering the bar scene,” she said, “and that’s what we’re most excited for.”

Meanwhile, after being closed during the holidays Incline Station Bowling in Downtown Duluth is happy to hear the sound 0f crashing pins on their lanes again.

“Missing the holiday season was tough,” said owner Tim Sorensen.

“And if we missed any more of the winter season, this is kinda what we use to stock up money to get through the slower summer months in our industry,” he said.

Sorensen says he’s taking extra precautions to space out to meet the 25% capacity limit, and sanitize. “We got a big facility here so we can spread them out across the whole house.”

“When the person’s done with the bowling balls and shoes they leave them on the lanes, we sanitize them put everything back when they’re done and gone for the next group,” said the owner.

Almost immediately after the bowling alley opened its doors Monday afternoon, families and league bowlers flocked to the lanes, itching for those indoor activities.

“I think it’s gonna be really important cause it gets that physical outlet that they’re not getting at home as much,” said Allison Larson, bringing her son Oskar bowling.

“Just because, you know we live in an apartment complex so we can’t really be outside a whole lot,” she said. “So this gives us a way to be able to have exercise and just be together as family doing a fun activity.”

Meanwhile Oskar couldn’t wait to get back into the game. “You get to knock down the pins like I always do,” he said.

Since there’s no food or drink served, the bowling alley side of Incline Station can be open past 10. So Sorensen expects the leagues to have some safe, great nights.

“I know some that have bought new balls over Christmas and now they can finally put them to use,” he said.

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