DECC, Duluth Businesses Prepare for Higher Capacities and Loosed Restriction Following Walz Announcement

DULUTH, Minn.– The latest news from Governor Walz lifting restriction means that bars and restaurants in the Northland could be getting back to normal soon.

Here in Duluth, local establishments are ready to welcome in more customers.

Event spaces like the DECC, along with bars and restaurants around the city were surprised at how much the governor is loosening restrictions but are ready to get back to normal.

“We’re really excited. I don’t think we really thought that this day would really come anytime soon,” said Dee Nelson, Marketing Director at Blacklist Brewing Company.

DECC Interim Executive Director Roger Reinert says the news is a game-changer for the DECC as they get ready to host big events again after current restrictions made hosting events difficult.

“We’re meant to do things in the hundreds and the thousands, not the ones and the tens,” said Reinert.

Reinert says events at Bayfront Park have been booked for nearly every weekend. The changes will help the DECC host big indoor events again with conferences at the DECC and UMD hockey games in the fall.

“We have a number of things on our event schedule right now that sort of have asterisks behind them. Like, ‘Where will we be when that event happens?’ and now those asterisks have gone away,” said Reinert. “We now know that we can work with people and say, ‘Yes, we can do your event.’

Over in downtown Duluth, those at Blacklist Brewing are excited to see an end to the mandated closing time. And welcome back live events at the taproom like live music and axe throwing.

“We’re definitely excited to get that third lane back up again. That’ll be nice,” said Nelson. “And have more people be able to actually come in through the weekend and axe throw. So yeah, we’re excited.”

Another establishment that’s glad to stay open later is 310 Pub in Canal Park, who was surprised the governor will soon be loosening nearly all restrictions.

“We were definitely expecting it to just be pushed back an hour or two possibly but we’re very excited that it’s going to be back to 2 a.m. for us,” said 310 bartender Nick Glass.

While their kitchen will continue at its normal hours, staff at 310 is glad to start to open up completely with summer right around the corner.

“Everybody has been waiting a long time for it and some thought that it was going to come at the beginning of May but we’re just happy that it’s happening now,” said Glass.

Part of the restrictions loosening means that local businesses still have to have health and safety plans enacted. All three groups said they will be reviewing their own plans, like distancing and capacity limits, along with a self-imposed mask mandate inside.

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