Excitement builds for restaurant, bar owners as COVID restrictions near end

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 9:45 PM CDT
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KASOTA TOWNSHIP, Minn. (KEYC) — Businesses across Minnesota have waited a long time to hear Thursday’s announcement from Gov. Tim Walz outlining the end of all coronavirus restrictions in the state.

”We are all very, very excited. This is a big day and this is a big month,” said Jane Schwickert, general manager at Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery.

The gradual end to the COVID restrictions is scheduled to begin as early as Friday.

“We did the things that needed to be done, and today we want to talk about where we are at. As all Minnesotans know, the job is not done until it is done. The plan to finish it is on us now,” Walz said during a press conference Thursday.

Beginning Friday, bars and restaurants can be open until their regulated closing times, as well as have up to 10 people per table and up to 75% capacity.

There will also not be a limit for outdoor venues, eating or get-togethers and masks will no longer need to be worn during these outdoor events.

The news means the world for owners of bars, restaurants and other establishments, including wedding venues like Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery.

“Brides come to know that they can have exactly the weddings that they want,” Schwickert said.

For some places, the turnaround won’t happen overnight, while others will be getting ready to get back to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy as quickly as possible.

“We don’t have the capacity just yet to do the big groups of 10, but we will work on that next week,” Schwickert said.

“Right away — we are open for everyone to sit together right away,” stated Katie Straub, co-manager at Neisen’s Riverside Sports Bar.

All other COVID-19 restrictions in Minnesota are scheduled to be lifted May 28, except for mask-wearing, which will come when 70% of Minnesotans age 16 years and older get at least one dose of the vaccine, but no later than July 1.

Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota health officials announced a plan to safely end all COVID-19...
Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota health officials announced a plan to safely end all COVID-19 restrictions in the state during a press conference Thursday, May 6, 2021.(Minnesota Department of Health)

The news is something that has been a long time coming for businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry.

“A bunch of staff has reached out to me today to say they are excited — excited to be open later, and then we get to see more of our customers later,” Straub said.

The common trend between residents, business owners and employees is the feeling of excitement and relief.

“Come hang out with your family and friends,” Straub said.

“It’s what we have been working for and waiting for. So, we are just thrilled; thrilled beyond measure,” Schwickert said.

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