Crow Wing County Board to hold special meeting to discuss reopening bars, restaurants early

Crow Wing County Board Chairman Paul Koering announced on Sunday he is calling a special meeting of the county board to discuss helping bars and restaurants ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

Koering called the board meeting for 9 a.m. Tuesday. In a news release, he said local bars and restaurants could miss out on one of the county's biggest weekends for tourist income if they remain closed. Dine-in service has been banned since March 27 as part of Gov. Tim Walz's "stay at home" order.

According to Koering, many businesses can make up to half their yearly revenue in just four weekends: the state fishing opener, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. 

"They’ve already missed the first one and are going to miss the second one if the Governor doesn’t change his mind and reopen them now," Koering said. "This a matter of their survival at this point, which makes it a matter of our local economy’s survival.”

Crow Wing County is home to the Brainerd Lakes area, one of Minnesota's biggest tourist destinations. Last month, resorts in the area prepared to reopen after Walz clarified they were able to operate as long as they followed the guidelines set forth in the "stay at home" order.