Minnesota restaurant owners, employees face uncertain future as dine-in service halts anew
New restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues went into efffect at midnight Saturday across Minnesota in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
It’s the second time Gov. Tim Walz has put a large-scale shutdown on businesses — the first coming in March, when all nonessential businesses were forced to close as part of the governor’s "stay at home" order.
This time around, all gyms and indoor entertainment venues — such as movie theaters and bowling alleys — must shut down for at least four weeks. Dine-in service has also been put on pause at bars and restaurants, though delivery and take-out is still allowed. Indoor organized sports are also on hold, while outdoor sports have the green light.
Unlike in March, retail shops can keep doing business, as can barbershops and hair salons.
But restaurant owners and employees are now worried if they’ll be able to recover from this latest round of closures.
Troy Reding, co-owner of Ally Restaurants, says he’s unsure whether take-out and delivery will be enough to sustain his restaurants with winter incoming. Plus, many employees will have to be furloughed — this time without additional federal funds kicking in on unemployment pay.
"It’s OK in the spring to sit in your car and wait for something to come out to you, but that might be challenging over the winter and the cold months, so we’re concerned with volume of takeout because I think people have adjusted," he said.
One of the restaurants Reding co-owns had to permanently close, and now he fears more will have to follow suit.
"Will casual dining ever be the same? For sure not," Reding said. "We’re going to have to figure out how it’s going to look different and be able to excel at that."