Local small businesses upset they aren’t allowed to re-open

Local small businesses upset they aren’t allowed to re-open

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - For many small businesses, owners and employees are wondering when they can finally reopen their doors to customers...and they're frustrated that some independently-owned stores like Minnesota's Largest Candy Store in Jordan, can reopen early before May 18.

Many are saying they’re ready to open and implement social distancing guidelines in their buildings for customers but the clock is ticking and their wallets are slimming.

“I’ve gone from being sad, to angry, to just devastated and back to being angry. It’s literally like going through the stages of death of somebody dying because you are literally watching this business that you have put so much pride, passion and effort into, long days and you’re watching it just dissipate a little bit more every day,” said Jo Radlinger, owner of Jo’s Fitness Garage.

While most restaurants can scrape by, by offering curbside pick-up and delivery, owners say it isn’t enough because a bulk of their profit comes from in-house dining.

“We’re down 70 percent. We’re missing out on that whole angle and stuff like that. I get the whole social distancing and I realize why we’re doing this, but I mean we’re to the point now that I mean come on it’s time,” said Jason Amdahl, Owner of Ummie’s Bar & Grill.

Small businesses like Jo's Garage on North Riverfront Drive serve a small amount of clientele...which works in their advantage because they could control social distancing guidelines in their building...unlike larger gyms that have thousands of members.

“The number thing has never been an issue for me, because that’s been my premise as a business the whole time I’ve been in business, is to be small, exclusive and private. That’s what my clients like. That also gives me the ability to control the people that come in here,” said Radlinger.

In the case of Minnesota's Largest Candy Store... which was given the go ahead to open today by Gov Walz, small business owners are frustrated over how that business was allowed to open early given their high volume of customers it serves.

“I just don’t it’s fair. I just think it sets a precedence and you have the little guys down here just screaming. Not just here, but they’re all over the state. They see that and they say ‘this guy is an independent guy, so how’s he able to open.’ Give me a break," said Amdahl.

It also presents some confusion over just how essential some, services are.

“There’s been businesses that have been given the pardon and the approval from the governor to reopen. It’s hard to understand the division of essential and nonessential and I’ve been coded as a nonessential, but I would argue that I am essential because of the whole health requirement in keeping people healthy. That’s where I’ve struggled with all of this is it seems a little unfair,” said Radlinger.

Those businnesses have plans in place for social distancing like spacing out seating, strengthening cleaning procedures or allowing for directed foot traffic through their buildings.

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