Restaurants, salons open doors after some COVID-19 restrictions lifted

Bars, restaurants and salons in Minnesota opened their doors Monday for the first time in more than two-and-a-half months. 

As part of the governor's phased reopening, these non-essential businesses could welcome customers again but with limitations.

Beginning June 1, restaurants and bars can reopen for outdoor service only as long as they:

  • Have adopted and implemented a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
  • Ensure a minimum of 6 feet of distance between tables
  • Limit on-premises capacity to no more than 50 persons
  • Limit table service to 4 persons, or 6 if part of one family unit
  • Require reservations in advance
  • Require workers to wear masks and strongly encourage masks be worn by customers

"I'm hoping we'll start to see some of the life come back to our neighborhoods here," said Basir Tareen, owner of Amore Uptown.

Amore Uptown opened at 4 p.m. Monday. Tareen said he is taking extra precautions, including removing menus from tables.

"There will be a little card on the table and you'll scan in a QR code," Tareen explained. "You'll be able to see a menu right on your phone so we don't have to hand off menus back and forth."

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Tareen is not only a small business owner, but also a practicing physician. He said he has closely followed the debate over reopening the state and understands both sides.

"There's got to be a balance, you know?" Tareen said. "I think eventually we have to slowly start to reopen things. I think we've tried to do that, we've managed the initial surge and allowed the hospitals a chance to catch up, but obviously life does have to go on."

Hair salons, nail salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors also reopened Monday. These personal care businesses were allowed to resume indoor operations if they:

  • Have adopted and implemented a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
  •  Limit number of clients inside the business at any time to ensure 6 feet of distance between persons except when providing services
  •  Reduce occupant capacity to no more than 25%
  •  See clients by appointment only; do not allow walk-ins
  •  Require workers and clients to wear masks at all times. For services where the client cannot wear a mask, the worker should add a face shield in addition to their mask.

Salon Elite in Woodbury showed 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the new safety procedures they put in place, including a health survey at the door, six-foot markers on the floor, empty chairs between clients and plexiglass partitions in the manicure stations.

The partial reopening comes at a time of much tension and uncertainty in Minnesota. Some businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul were damaged or destroyed in the recent riots. Others decided to hold off on reopening, including NOLO Kitchen and O'Donovan's Irish Pub.
Overall, business owners believe many of the current changes due to the pandemic will be in effect for a while.

"I think until there's a vaccine, we're definitely going to live life a little differently," Tareen said.