Survey: 52% of local restaurants, bars will close in 4-6 months if restrictions aren’t eased

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The state of Minnesota is tweaking its guidance for restaurants and bars to open safely during the pandemic. According to the Stay Safe MN guidance for safely reopening: restaurants and bars, 10 people can now share a table with no restrictions. Previously, 4 unrelated people or 6 family members were allowed to share a table.

"It does make a difference," said Liz Rammer, president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota. "We have been hearing from many operators that the fast-approaching holiday season would be very difficult to navigate, especially for family members, if you could only have a maximum of 6 people at a table. So being able to increase that by 4 more bodies will really help on the revenue side."

MDH issues new guidance for restaurants and bars regarding party sizes, dancing

Indoor capacity is still limited to 50% with a maximum of 250 people. Dancing is also not allowed.

A new survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and Hospitality Minnesota paints a bleak picture.

According to Rammer, the survey shows that if nothing changes in the next four to six months, 52% of Minnesota’s restaurant and foodservice businesses will close permanently. And that jumps to 70% if there are no changes in six to 12 months.

"I think that really underscores the need to make a change quickly," said Rammer. "This is one step toward that. The larger goal is to continue to make some reasonable adjustments that will bring revenue increases to these folks and give them a lifeline to make it through what we know is going to be a long winter."

Gov.Tim Walz has called lawmakers back for a special session on Oct. 12. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Political reporter Tom Hauser believes easing restrictions on restaurants and bars even more is sure to be something Republicans pressure the governor to do during negotiations over extending his emergency powers.

Watch the full, uncut interview with Rammer down below.

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