COVID-19

International Falls Area Businesses Experience Impact of COVID-19

U.S., Canada Border Closure Impacts Businesses in the International Falls Area

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. – COVID-19 continues to keep a tight lockdown on our daily lives and routines. Businesses are being impacted, and communities are having to come together now more than ever before to help one another. The community of International Falls, situated right along the Canadian border, is feeling the economic impact due to the ongoing U.S., Canadian border…

Pandemic, Rainy Weather Cause Smaller Turnout at Head of Lakes Fair

Organizers say a couple hundred people attended this year.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- As the Head of the Lakes Fair in Superior comes to a close, organizers said fears of the pandemic and some nasty weather kept a lot of people from coming during their six-day run. Normally attracting thousands to the Fairgrounds on Tower Avenue over the course of the fair, the director of the Head of the Lakes Fair…

Superior Mayor Encourages Compliance of Mask Mandate Effective Monday

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Starting Monday masks will be required in all indoor public places in Superior. Last week the Superior City Council voted 9-1 in favor of the mandate, with Councilor and bar owner Keith Kern the only vote against. Businesses that don’t enforce the rule could be punished of for a licensing violation, and face the same consequences as they…

Thousands Attend Effie, MN Rodeo Protesting Governor Walz’s COVID-19 Restrictions

Billed as largest longest running rodeo in country, many protested what they called Government overreach.

EFFIE, Minn.-  As Minnesota’s mask mandate takes effect, Governor Tim Walz reminded the state that it’s important for people to follow his directives to slow the spread of COVID-19 — but at a small town rodeo, some do not believe government intervention is necessary. Thousands of people packed the stands at the 65th Annual North Star Stampede Rodeo in Effie…

Duluth Hotel Industry Slowly Picking Up, Hoping to Reach Last Summer Numbers

According to Visit Duluth hotels citywide during the pandemic saw 15-20% of available rooms early at their lowest point. 

DULUTH, Minn.- The largest hotel in Duluth, Holiday Inn and Suites on First Street Downtown says while business doesn’t look like last summer, it is picking up. The staff at Holiday Inn say occupancy is down 50%  from what it was last summer. According to Visit Duluth hotels citywide during the pandemic saw 15-20% of available rooms early at their…

Gov. Walz Says Mask Mandate Will Help Keep Businesses Open, Infection Rate Down

As of Saturday masks will be required in all indoor public spaces.

MINNESOTA- On Wednesday, Minnesota joined over two dozen other states in requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public places statewide. That new Executive Order by Governor Tim Walz goes into effect Saturday morning. You can find the full executive order here. “This is a small sacrifice for a potentially big gain,” Gov. Walz said. “The upside of the…

Cloquet City Council Passes Mask Mandate; Votes to Take Effect August 1st

While some councilors supported the language of the ordinance, others thought enforcement would be an issue.

CLOQUET, Minn.- A mask mandate for indoor public places was passed by the Cloquet City Council Monday evening, taking effect August 1st. Unlike Duluth, the vote was not unanimous — the council, it seems, as divided as they said the community is on the issue. The Council passed the ordinance 5-2, the only change being making it effective August 1st….

Superior School District Approves Three Reopening Scenarios; Asks Parents to Submit Preferences

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The Superior School District has approved their possible plan for how students will be taught this fall. The coming school year will either be all virtual, all in-person, or a hybrid of at-home and in-school learning. The district is still waiting to pick a final option. They say they hope to have a set plan in place by…

Superior School Board Approves Response Plan for Reopening this Fall

Plan allows families to choose all-virtual, or hybrid of virtual and in-person learning.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- In their first in-person meeting since March, the Superior School Board Monday approved their COVID-19 District Response Plan on reopening schools this fall. In the plan (found here), families can choose whether to continue having their children learn virtually at home, or attend in a hybrid setting with partial education at home and partial in the school building….

Live Music, Food Enjoyed While Social Distanced at Earth Rider Brewery

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Some people spent the warm Sunday outside listening to live music — socially distanced of course — at Earth Rider Brewery. At the outdoor space at Earth Rider’s Cedar Lounge, customers enjoyed a few drinks, some live music, and Thai-fusion cuisine from the “One Night in Bangkok” Food Truck. Staff at Earth Rider say they are happy their…

Some Cloquet Business Owners Ready for Mask Mandate Ahead of Council Vote Tuesday

While city officials' views on the ordinance are divided, these business owners say it's a good idea.

CLOQUET, Minn.- Coming up Tuesday two Northland cities, Cloquet and Superior, will vote on a mask mandate for indoor public places. In Cloquet, some business owners say it’s a good idea if it means continuing their operations as safely as possible. “I think it’s good for the community overall, just to keep the spread of the Coronavirus,” said Cindy Peterson,…

Pandemic Doesn’t Erase ‘Chalk.a.Lot’ Festival in Two Harbors

The festival continued this year, albeit downsized due to COVID-19.

TWO HARBORS, Minn.- Artist hard at work could be spotted throughout Two Harbors Saturday, and their canvas — the sidewalks. The 9th Annual “Chalk.a.Lot” Festival carried on. “Everybody’s so excited to be here and they’re happy to be creating art,” said Carrie Coan, President of the Two Harbors Area Arts and Events Board. “This is our 9th year and everybody…

Owner of Twin Ports Bars, Restaurants Weighs in On Proposed Superior Mask Mandate

After abiding by the new ordinance at his Duluth locations, Rick Lampton says he expects adjusting at Grizzly's and 7 West in Superior to go smoothly.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- In just three days the Superior City Council will vote on whether to implement an indoor public mask mandate similar to Duluth. Now more bar and restaurant owners are speaking out on that proposed ordinance. Rick Lampton, owner of many establishments in both Duluth and Superior, including Grizzly’s and 7 West Taphouse, has already adjusted his businesses to…

Superior Market Welcomes Craft Vendors

With the cancellation of various events, crafters haven't been able to sell their products.

DULUTH, Minn. – Junk and Disorderly in Superior is helping out area crafters by hosting an outdoor market. With the cancellation of various events, crafters haven’t been able to sell their products. The owner of Junk and Disorderly says, anyone is welcome to sign up for free to sell their items and it all goes towards supporting local businesses. “You’ll…

Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Sending COVID Care Packages to Northland Tribal Communities

Researchers at the Great Lakes Hub in Duluth say the care packages are short term solutions, while they work to address lack of public health care in tribal communities.

DULUTH, Minn.- As the pandemic continues to rip through communities throughout the Northland, the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Great Lakes Hub in Duluth is providing aid to the indigenous communities effected by the virus. The Center has sent out about 100 care packages with food supplies, and about 100 what they call Holistic Wellness Boxes with items…

Head of Lakes Fair Still Happening with Extra Safety Precautions, Modified Activities

Along with hand sanitizing stations and staff monitoring people for social distancing, certain rides will not be there.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Setup is underway for the only fair that seems to still be moving forward in the Northland — and perhaps the only event of the summer. The Head of the Lakes Fair on Tower Avenue is set to happen, open to the public next Tuesday at 4 p.m. Organizers say they are confident working with county health officials…

With Superior Mask Mandate on Horizon, Business Owners Prepare for its Passage

Some retail businesses like Annie's Attic already recommend masks, so making it a city-wide requirement will take some stress of enforcement, owner says.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Across the bridge in Superior, businesses are preparing for a city wide mask mandate that could take effect July 27th, if the City Council approves a proposed ordinance at next week’s council meeting. All signs show it will be passed for indoor public places, as only Councilor Keith Kern, a bar owner himself, voted against moving forward with…

Duluth Becomes First City in Northland to Approve Mask Mandate for Indoor Public Places

Duluth City Council voted unanimously to require masks indoors in public, with penalties for businesses and individuals that don't comply.

DULUTH, Minn.- Duluth is now the first city in the Northland to require masks in all public indoor spaces to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, after City Council voted unanimously to pass the historic ordinance Monday night, effective immediately. Face coverings will now be required in such places as retail spaces, DTA buses, the Skywalk, and in apartment building…

Lester River Rendezvous Canceled For First Time in Over 20 Years

Annual event gathers about 10,000 people every year.

DULUTH, Minn.- For the first time in more than 20 years, the Lester River Rendezvous is canceled this September due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to organizers, the weekend event gathers about 10,000 people every year. One of their more popular events is the Voyageur Village, which re-enacts an 18th-19th century fur trade village. Coordinator Don Mendoza said while he’ll…

DECC Opens Up For Dance Competition

Ovation Dance Challenge is the DECC's first event since the pandemic started.

DULUTH, Minn.- On Saturday the DECC in Duluth held its first event since the pandemic started. The Ovation Dance Challenge took place in Symphony Hall. About 200 dancers participated between Friday and Saturday and were watched by no more than 250 people, as per state guidelines. Masks were required and the stage and other areas were routinely sanitized. Organizers say dancers…

Dance Competition to be First Event at DECC Since Start of Pandemic

While DECC is excited to open back up, the dance community is excited that they might be getting platforms to perform again.

DULUTH, Minn.- For the first time since March, the DECC in Duluth will play host to an event once again this weekend. The event is called the Ovation Dance Challenge, and capacity will be limited at the state guidelines of 250 people, with only family of the dancers allowed inside, and a livestream provided for anyone else who wants to…

Endion Station Inn Seeing Steady Business

Since it opened the inn has encountered both a pandemic, and now construction resuming on the Lakewalk.

DULUTH, Minn. – Earlier this year, the historic Endion Station in Canal Park transitioned into a new boutique hotel. Since it opened the inn has encountered both a pandemic, and now construction resuming on the Lakewalk. Despite these obstacles, Owner Rod Raymond says his business is doing fine and has some words of wisdom for anyone who has to drastically…

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…