Brainerd Lakes area resorts prepare to reopen after getting clarification on 'stay at home' rules

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Gov. Tim Walz says Minnesota resorts are open for business, but with precautions in place. The hotel portions can accept guests, and communal amenities can be used if they follow proper social distancing and cleaning protocols.

The governor clarified Wednesday that resorts are allowed to be open after some were confused with earlier requirements regarding the 'stay at home' order.

David Spizzo, assistant general manager at Breezy Point Resort, said he's never seen something like this before.

"It's a beautiful day, probably the nicest day of the year so far, in the Brainerd Lakes Area, and the parking lot is empty," he said.

Spizzo said the coronavirus pandemic has made it tough for all of the businesses there.

"Everybody, first, wants to take care of their staff … but at the same time they want to open their doors up again and it's a beautiful area for people to travel to, so, the sooner we can get people comfortable with coming back to Brainerd Lakes Area, the better," said Spizzo.

The team said the announcement was unexpected.

"On Monday, did I know resorts would be open on Wednesday – no, no," said Camie Zwack, lodging operations manager.

It should be noted that resorts have been allowed to be open as long as the proper guidelines are followed, according to Walz. But many were confused and remained closed.

Now, plans to follow those guidelines and reopen are underway. Some of those plans includes changing seating arrangements on the outdoor decks, utilizing stand-alone cabins to allow people to spread out, having people golf separately unless they're family members, decreasing the amount of times hospitality staff enters living quarters and giving people the chance to check-out remotely.

"We're hopeful to see a lot of people getting out, enjoying that sunshine, seeing the people, seeing the smiles," said Zwack.

The team said it'll be good to see families vacationing and staff back to work.

"The mood has been positive. A little apprehensive, but positive," said Spizzo. "We know things will get back to normal. We just don't know that timeframe."