COVID-19

Duluth Bars Extra Cautious as Gov. Walz Threatens Statewide Bar Shutdown

Bar owners in Duluth say a second closure could prove disastrous.

DULUTH, Minn.- As COVID-19 cases grow nationwide, many states are already turning back to restrictions on business. Now states like Minnesota may be considering the same, as Governor Tim Walz warns that mass gatherings without masks in bars will cause numbers to rise faster. “The bars right now are not safe,” said the Governor at a press conference last week,…

Annual Car Show Rides Through Superior as ‘Car Cruise’

SUPERIOR, Wis.- While Superior’s fireworks were canceled due to COVID-19, some gearheads still made the most of the Fourth of July. Since the annual Dennis VanAlstine Car Show was canceled as well this year, the “Anything with a Motor Cruise” took its place to give motorists a chance to let their rides shine. The parade of hot rods started at…

Some Superior Businesses See Different Customer Traffic Due to Canceled Fireworks Show

Bars and restaurants and attractions seeing a bit more customers, but many staying home.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The City of Superior abruptly canceled their 4th of July fireworks show the day before, causing some businesses to adapt to the change in customer flow. “We weren’t sure what to expect coming through,” Dustin Heckman, Executive Director of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center said. A year with fireworks would bring both Superiorites and others visiting…

Cancellation of 2020 Apple Fest a Big Test for Bayfield Businesses

It is arguably the cities largest event, and at times, can bring in over 60,000 people to a town with a popular of under 500.

BAYFIELD, Wisc. – This year, the fall season in Bayfield will be looking different. “Certainly overwhelming. Very large crowds come into town over the weekend. When the weather is nice, typically the streets will be packed body to body with people,” Howl Owner, Mary Thiel says. That won’t be happening with the cancellation of the 59th annual Apple Fest, and…

Liila Boutique in Lincoln Park Moves Store to Sidewalk

Store holds sidewalk sale to make up for not being able to open interior.

DULUTH, Minn.- Another local business in Lincoln Park is trying new ways to open back up while also following public health guidelines. Liila Boutique on West Superior Street has been bringing their store to the sidewalk the past few weekends. Since they’re located in the Duluth Folk School building which remains closed, they can’t open their doors to the public….

Essentia Health Changes Visitor Policy

DULUTH, Minn. – Essentia Health has lifted some of its visitor restrictions at their facilities. Effective immediately, one adult visitor is allowed per patient between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Chaplains and Clergy will also be allowed to visit patients. Restrictions for patients who are positive for Covid-19 will remain the same. No visitors will be allowed for those patients…

Duluth Without Grandma’s Marathon for the First Time in 43 Years

Race officials say crews are hard at work making next year even better.

DULUTH, Minn.- For the first time in 43 years, Duluth and the North Shore were not packed with thousands of runners as Grandma’s Marathon was cancelled this year. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the race was called off after over 18,000 runners had already registered. Runners across the country still participated in the virtual races, but race officials say it’s…

St. Luke’s Infectious Disease Doctor on Public Preparedness: “I Think There’s Room For Improvement”

St. Luke's Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Andrew Thompson Speaks on COVID-19 Preparedness in the Northland

DULUTH, Minn. – “I think there’s room for improvement, at least here in our local community,” said Dr. Andrew Thompson, Infectious Disease Specialist with St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. Dr. Thompson made this statement when asked about his personal view on how safe and cautious residents in the Northland have been during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan…

7 West Taphouse Re-Opens Amid Superior Street Reconstruction Downtown

Longtime customers say they're still excited to get back to their favorite restaurant.

DULUTH, Minn.- 7 West Taphouse is one of the bars and restaurants which has opened their locations this week, including in downtown Duluth  — on top of the reconstruction of a portion of Superior Street happening right outside their door. On their first day open Monday, about 20-30 people came in for lunch. Customers are asked to wait at the…

Visit Duluth Furloughs Six Employees, As Summer Tourism Remains Uncertain

Six out of the 11 employees were temporarily furloughed.

DULUTH, Minn.- Six employees have been temporarily furloughed at Visit Duluth, the tourism bureau tasked with marketing the city to outsiders. “We are at a point now where it was the harsh reality of what we’re facing in our industry,” said President Anna Tanski. “We have the resources and took these steps to stretch our operation at least through the…

‘Tribute Fest’ Concert Fundraiser for Homeless Veterans Canceled

Tickets can either be deferred for next year, donated to MACV, or refunded.

DULUTH, Minn.- COVID-19 has claimed another summer event at Bayfront Festival Park: the Tribute Fest fundraiser. Organizer Lou Campbell says the current outdoor gathering cap of 250 people just isn’t possible. The three-day festival usually attracts between 2,000-4,000 people, raising about $20,000 every year for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, or MACV. Campbell hopes to raise money for homeless…

Amazing Grace to Become Canal Park’s First Grocery Store and Cafe

The longstanding bakery and cafe is doing a total overhaul, changing what it offers to the area.

DULUTH, Minn.- The bakery and cafe that has sat in the basement of the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace for 25 years is not only getting a makeover, but a do-over — from a bakery to a grocery store. “Changing with the times you have to just, you can’t dig in your heels cause then those are the places that don’t survive,” said…

OMC Smokehouse Expanding into Next-Door Noble Pour; Now Called ‘OMC Whiskey Bar’

A hole in the wall now connects the restaurant to the bar, increasing seating.

DULUTH, Minn.- Governor Walz announcing that bars, restaurants and other business can open at 50% capacity Wednesday is a relief for many restaurant owners. But for one in Lincoln Park, that meant scrapping a newly opened business to give new life to an existing favorite. “We’re kind of calling an audible on every play that we’ve made in the last…

Cloquet 4th of July Festivities Cancelled; Pinehurst Park Pool Closed

CLOQUET, Minn.- Coronavirus continues to claim summer events throughout the Northland. Added to the list: the 4th of July fireworks and parade in Cloquet, along with the city’s Pinehurst Park natural ground pool. City officials decided to cancel the popular Independence Day festivities Tuesday, saying that it would be near impossible to limit the usual crowd of hundreds to whatever…

Small, Peaceful Protest In Superior As Businesses Board Up For Potential Unrest

A rumored protest taking over the Blatnik Bridge didn't happen.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- At the corner of Belknap and Hammond in Superior Wednesday, a dozen or so young people peacefully held signs against the death of George Floyd and police brutality, cheered on by drivers honking their horns in support–amid rumors of protests and unrest in the city swirling for a few days. There was even talk of a protest overtaking…

Golf Courses Stay Busy After Re-Opening

DULUTH, Minn. – Lately, you may have noticed a few differences when you’re out on the links. “I think until there’s a vaccine or immunity, whichever comes first, I think we’re going to keep using these extraordinary measures to our employees and our customers safe,” Pine Hill Golf Course Owner, James Barry says. Removing rakes from sand traps, and putting…

Duluth Council Approves Spirit Mountain Summer Closure; Extra $350K Still Needed for Winter Reopening

The adventure park's financial request comes while the city is facing a potential $38 million budget shortfall.

DULUTH, Minn.- The Duluth City Council unanimously passed Spirit Mountain’s annual multi-million dollar budget Tuesday evening, which is also calling for extra funding later this year to get the park reopened for the winter season after being shut down for the rest of the summer. Councilors just approved the adventure park’s $4 million operating budget for the 2020-2021 season, but…

COVID-19 Related Deaths in Wisconsin Surpass 500

As of Saturday, Wisconsin Reported a Total of 14,877 Positive COVID-19 Cases; New Numbers to be Released Monday Afternoon

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin has gone over 500 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus, according to state Department of Health Services figures released Saturday. The report showed 481 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, for a total of 14,877, and an additional 11 deaths, for a total of 507. Two news deaths were reported in Milwaukee County, increasing the county’s…

City of Duluth Works to Make Outdoor Seating, Liquor Licenses Easier for Bars and Restaurants

Some businesses are taking advantage of waived permit fees, while others must continue relying on takeout and curbside.

DULUTH, Minn.- Duluth city officials are making changes to policies and processes to allow greater flexibility for bars and restaurants who may not be outfitted to continue operating without dine-in customers. “Just like the city is struggling with the financial impact of this public health emergency, we know that our local businesses are struggling with this public health emergency,” said…

Gov. Walz Allows Places of Worship to Open Doors to Limited Capacity May 27th

The Governor and the Catholic Archdiocese came to a deal to gather more than 10 worshipers together at a time.

DULUTH, Minn.- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and the Catholic Archdiocese of Minnesota came to a deal Saturday to allow places of worship in the state to open May 27th to groups larger than 10 people. This announcement comes on the day when the state is reporting a record number of COVID-19 cases. The Governor’s order states that places of worship,…

YMCA’s Camp Miller Announces They Will Be Open for Summer Season

Camp Miller, With Permission from Governor Tim Walz, Will Be Allowed to Host Family Camps Only

  STURGEON LAKE, Minn. – The YMCA’s Camp Miller in Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota, is celebrating its 122nd summer season this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Leadership learned earlier this week from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, they will be allowed to open this summer for family camps only, with restrictions in place to prevent further spread of coronavirus. “We want…

Duluth Bar, Restaurant Owners Surprised, Disappointed at Walz’s Outside Seating Restrictions

Different issues arise with just outside seating.

DULUTH, Minn.- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz loosened restrictions on business beginning June 1st. Bars and restaurants can open on that date with outdoor only seating, serving no more than 50 customers at a time and with employees wearing masks. “That extends to how do we find that new normal, restart Minnesota’s economy and I should say grow it from where…

Eveleth Bar Owner: ‘June 1st is Really the End of the Wire’

Owners of bars, restaurants, and other businesses met in Eveleth to discuss opening strategies, and share frustrations with the state's handling of things.

EVELETH, Minn.- Businesses across Minnesota are anxiously awaiting the Governor’s announcement Wednesday authorizing them to open June 1st, including up on the range in the small town of Eveleth that has a population of 3,596. “Walz opening up on the first at a capacity of 25%? That’s. Not. Enough,” said one business owner. Bar and restaurant owners in Eveleth said…

Boating Businesses Ready to Set Sail with Modifications for Safety

Vista Star and Pontoons out of Pier B are changing their operations to ensure passengers have a safe nautical experience.

DULUTH, Minn.- As summer gets closer, Duluth begins to shine as a waterfront destination again. After looking at summer with uncertainty, boating rental and tour services are excited to say they can provide people that gateway to the big blue lake. The Vista Fleet is missing the big Memorial Day opening, but owner Justin Steinbach expects to be open by…

Skywalk Re-Opens after Two-Month Closure, Businesses Hope for Foot Traffic Again

Frame Corner and Gallery looks to recover as long as people come in to shop.

DULUTH, Minn.- Downtown Duluth is reconnected once again with the Skywalk back open after a two-month closure due to COVID-19. The Skywalk was noticibly emptier than usual, but that didn’t stop businesses from swinging their doors open. Frame Corner and Gallery in the Holiday Center has been selling custom frames through curbside pickup but owner Sara Sarvella said she’s looking…

Superior Businesses Navigate Operating Safely After First Weekend Open

Douglas County officials urge businesses to follow guidelines, and they may shut them down if they receive complaints.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- It was the first weekend that businesses in Wisconsin were suddenly given the green light to open after the state’s stay at home order was thrown out by the Wisconsin Supreme Court–now business owners in Superior say it’s time to figure out how to open safely. The jingle of the door opening is a sound not heard at…

14 Year-Old Gets Personal Birthday Parade

Traffic on Arrowhead Road honked to wish Haley a Happy Birthday.

DULUTH, Minn.- On Saturday a Duluth teenager got her own personal birthday parade to help her celebrate another milestone. Much of the traffic on Arrowhead Road honked to celebrate Haley Kovach-Hubert turning 14. The birthday girl also got a special parade organized by her family. Haley says despite not having a party, this birthday was one to remember. “I feel…

Virtual UMD Commencement Still One to Remember, Graduates Say

2300 graduated online, with video speeches and a slideshow.

DULUTH, Minn.- About 2,300 seniors graduated from UMD this year, but they’re listening to pomp and circumstance in their own homes, virtually. “Being a family of five we just try and make it as special as we can,”  said Music Education major Hunter Hamby. “We know we can’t emulate the big celebration sort of thing.” That big celebration would normally…

Superior Bars React to Safer-at-Home Order Struck Down by Wisconsin Supreme Court

The order, as well as the six-day injunction, were rejected, leaving businesses free to open immediately.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Just as quickly as some say it started, Wisconsin’s safer-at-home order is, for now, finished–struck down by the State Supreme Court. Businesses statewide, including bars and restaurants, now have the green light to “open immediately” according to a social media post by the Tavern League of Wisconsin. “Come on in!” said Cory Gatzke, triumphantly throwing open the shades…

148th Fighter Wing Honors Frontline Workers With Flyover

DULUTH, Minn. – It’s called Operation American Resolve and it’s a way members of the 148th fighter wing can show their appreciation for people, like healthcare workers, who are answering the call during these difficult times. “We’ve also got people like our first responders, our cops, our fire fighters. Even people running the supply chain out there with our groceries, essential…

St. Louis County Projects Budget Shortfall, No Layoffs So Far

The County is also waiving late fees for property owners who apply for an extension to July.

DULUTH, Minn.- COVID-19 has dealt a financial blow to St. Louis County in the form of a projected budget shortall. According to County Auditor Nancy Nilsen, the budget shortfall is expected to be at least $6 million. She said her office is not looking at layoffs or furloughs, but instead plan to save money with a hiring freeze leaving about…

St. Scholastica Spring Commencement Goes Virtual, Seniors Look Back on Last Year

While disappointing, not having an in-person commencement doesn't change the fact that they completed four years of college, seniors say.

DULUTH, Minn.- Graduating seniors at the College of St. Scholastica are celebrating the end of their college lives a bit differently than they may have expected: with a virtual commencement ceremony. This time last year, there was a full gymnasium filled with caps and gowns. “I was homeschooled high school so I never had the ceremony so I was really…

Cloquet High Seniors Pick Up Graduation Cap and Gowns Drive-Thru Style

Teachers, Family and Community members wear purple and come out in support.

CLOQUET, Minn.- Picking up your graduation cap and gown is a big moment for high school seniors. So the Cloquet High School Administration and the surrounding community made it even bigger, while still maintaining social distance–having them available as a drive-thru. “It really boiled down to some form of togetherness,” said Principal Steve Battaglia. A chorus of honks greeted Cloquet…

Bailey Builds Allows Customers to Shop from their Cars

Car-side shopping is in addition to curbside pickup and an online store.

DULUTH, Minn.- An arts studio and store on Grand Avenue in Duluth is changing the way they bring handmade gifts to customers. You can now shop Bailey Builds from your car. One of the staff members will meet you at your vehicle with a mask and gloves to find out what you’re looking for, come back with gift ideas, and…

Some Duluth Restaurants, Hotels Look Toward Uncertain Future

Hotels and restaurants try to stay afloat after decreased business for this long.

DULUTH, Minn.- As many local businesses in the hospitality industry make adjustments to continue staying open, for others that might not be an option. Dubh Linn Brew Pub in Downtown Duluth is changing their business model, offering delivery of growlers of their in-house brew, cider, wine, and food five days a week from 4pm-8pm. “People are looking for a reason,…

Gov. Walz Allows Elective Surgeries Statewide; Essentia, St. Luke’s Say They’re Ready

The Governor signed an executive order Tuesday allowing elective surgeries and procedures, reversing an order from March.

DULUTH, Minn.- An executive order from Governor Tim Walz gave the green light for healthcare providers to resume elective surgeries and procedures on May 11th. A move officials at Essentia Health and St. Luke’s Hospitals in Duluth said they are ready for. Health systems statewide have lost about $1 billion a month since procedures and surgeries were banned in March,…

Some Superior Businesses Relieved with Governor’s Loosened Restrictions

Gov. Evers's new emergency order allows no contact business.

  SUPERIOR, Wis.- Business owners in Superior are slowly getting back to as close to normal as they can be after Governor Tony Evers announced some non-essential businesses can open in a limited capacity. “It’ll be the new normal, whatever that is,” said Kat Senn. Under Emergency Order 34, certain non-essential businesses are allowed to start resuming business only through…

Trump Set to Order Meatpacking to Stay Open As Plants Deal with Staff Shortage

If this continues, experts say it could drastially effect the nation's food supply chain.

SUPERIOR, Wis. On Tuesday President Donald Trump said he will sign a five-page executive order declaring meat processing plants critical infrastructure, ordering them to remain open–as facilities are dealing with a shortage of workers and an increase in demand. “We always work with the farmers,” Trump said. “There’s plenty of supplies, as you know this, plenty of supply, it’s distribution…

City of Virginia Set to Furlough Up to 28 Employees Beginning in May

"It makes me sick to my stomach," said Mayor Larry Cuffe.

VIRGINIA, Minn.- The City of Virginia is set to furlough up to 28 employees beginning May 4th due to projected revenue losses. Mayor Larry Cuffe said a majority of the 28 employees are expected to come from Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and Golf Course staff. While they’re avoiding cutting any staff from public safety departments right now, the Mayor…

Duluth Council, Mayor’s Administration Discuss Budget Shortfall, Layoffs

City Council shared their thoughts and questions while the Mayor and her team outlined plans.

DULUTH, Minn.- Mayor Emily Larson made a rare appearance at Duluth’s virtual City Council meeting to give councilors a detailed outline, and uncertain look towards a grim future after she announced the city’s budget shortfall–which was unveiled to now be about $20.7-$38.2 million. According to city officials, due to the city’s “strong mayor system,” Larson can make any decisions she…

Business Blooming for Duluth Flower Farm’s Mini Farmer’s Market

The florist is seeing success with his socially distant farmer's market on his parents' Proctor farm.

PROCTOR, Minn.- A local flower shop owner is seeing some success after adapting his business model during this pandemic. Duluth Flower Farm has been set up with a simple table outside the family’s farm in Proctor–and it’s been busy–selling out of flowers and products like homemade salsa. The owner said this new approach has done wonders while his store is…

90-Year-Old Proctor Man Surprised with Community Birthday Parade

The whole community helped David Frear celebrate the first birthday without his wife of 62 years.

PROCTOR, Minn.- The Coronavirus pandemic has proven that there are more ways than just parties to celebrate important birthdays, like David Frear’s milestone 90th Birthday Parade. “It’s really, really exciting. I really like it,” Frear said as cars honked by. After having to cancel a surprise party, Frear’s family still wanted to make his 90th one to remember. “When I…

Volunteers Keep Duluth Clean for First Virtual Cleanup Day

City launches first ever virtual cleanup after spring lakewalk cleaning gets canceled.

DULUTH, Minn.- In honor of Earth Day and the canceled spring lakewalk cleanup, the City of Duluth launched their first “Keep Duluth Clean Virtual Cleanup” Saturday. People are encouraged to grab an old bucket or bag, put on their gloves, and start picking up trash. They can share their progress with the hashtag #keepduluthclean. Volunteers cleaning up said they’re surprised…

Healthcare Heroes Celebrated with Handpainted Sign Outside St. Luke’s

Duluth Street Art Initiative Made a 4-ft by 8-ft sign in front of the St Luke's Clinic on East First Street.

DULUTH, Minn.- Healthcare workers looking out the windows of the buildings on the St. Luke’s Campus will now be treated to a big sign reading “Thank You Frontline Heroes,” put together by local artists and local officials. “When they’re laying down that kind of sacrifice, I think it’s important for them to know we’re here, and we care,” said Minnesota…

Summer Events at Bayfront in Limbo due to Pandemic

Officials, event organizers and acts are all looking at other ways to hopefully bring their art to fans.

DULUTH, Minn.- The COVID-19 pandemic has left musical acts and festivals at Bayfront Festival Park in unprecedented uncertainty–forcing organizers and artists to explore different ways to give fans an experience if shows are a no-go. Bayfront has become synonymous with summer fun, filling up every season with concert-goers, food lovers, and fireworks. But the empty, bleak park you see right…

Duluth Pastry Chef Spreading Sweetness, Safety with Delivery of Cakes, Masks

Sweet Exchange delivery is going contactless with orders of cakes and cupcakes, along with a free handmade mask.

DULUTH, Minn.- A local pastry chef who was hoping to open a new storefront in Downtown Duluth is continuing to bring sweetness to people, with an added bonus. The owner of Sweet Exchange is taking phone orders for contactless delivery of cakes and cupcakes. Think Ding Dong Ditch with a cake waiting on your doorstep. She’s also handmaking cloth masks…

West Duluth Sewing and Design Selling Handmade Masks to Stay Afloat

The sewing and alterations business is selling masks for $6, the only business they are getting right now with proms and weddings cancelled.

DULUTH, Minn.- At first, West Duluth Sewing and Design’s foray into making masks started with a donation. Now it’s their only real income, with cancelled proms and weddings slowing business. A nursing home in Moose Lake asked the owners, Jeaneth and Harold Deterling, to make and donate about 50 masks a week, being paid just for materials. “She asked me…

OMC Smokehouse, Corktown to Open; Merge into ‘OMC Express and Deli’

New business style hopes to bring back 20-25% of the 200 laid off employees.

DULUTH, Minn.- People missing the smoked meat and sandwiches in Lincoln Park are in luck. OMC Express and Deli will open Wednesday, as the result of merging OMC Smokehouse and Corktown Deli and Brews. Both businesses have been closed through the pandemic. According to owner Tom Hanson, the operation should put 20-25% of the 200 employees laid off back to…

Pandemic Forces Wedding Planners to Adjust as Couples Wait to Tie the Knot

Both planners and couples are navigating new territory of rescheduling the big day.

DULUTH, Minn.- On a warm, sunny April day, many scenic outdoor spots in the Northland are normally packed with a bride, groom, and large crowd, gathered to witness the marriage. But just like other events, weddings now have to be drastically changed due to COVID-19. “This is definitely not something you imagine, you know?” said bride-to-be, Meghan Hagedon. “You plan…

Sutherland CBD, Dr. Juice Offer Hand Sanitizer, Donate Hundreds to First Responders

The pair are are selling bottles at cost for $3, all sales going back into production.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Sutherland CBD and Dr. Juice USA, both on Tower Avenue, are now offering handmade hand sanitizer. And hundreds of bottles of their product are going to first responders in need. “In these difficult times everybody’s got to do their part to stop the spread of this thing, to stay safe,” said Jacob Tout, CEO of Dr. Juice USA….