(FOX 9) - Mother’s Day is a lot different for Donna Hernandez and her family because this year, they’re celebrating outside at Back Channel Brewing Company in Spring Park.
"Last year, we had the kids over, but we were outside at home the entire time," she told FOX 9 during an interview. "We’ve been vaccinated now so we feel safer and I think things are slowly turning back to normal. I don’t know if it will ever be back to the same normal but a new normal."
Hernandez joined dozens of other families Sunday at the brewery where both inside and outdoor patio was filled with smiles and laughter just days after Gov. Tim Walz’s latest executive order went into effect on May 7.
Under his latest order, there aren’t any capacity limits for outdoor dining, events, and venues. Masks are still be required at large outdoor venues with more than 500 people, but the state's 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants has been eliminated.
For many people out and about at Back Channel on Mother’s Day, the state’s latest guidelines are a relief.
"It’s really nice to actually be able to get out," said Kate Michaels. "Last Mother’s Day, I was pregnant and our daughter was born in the middle of the pandemic. All she’s known are masks and quiet and calm places. It will be exciting to show her what the world could be like."
For the hospitality industry, hit hard by the shutdown, Mother’s Day brings some much-needed optimism.
"Last Mother’s Day it was pretty much zero," said Tom Mock, a supervisor Back Channel Brewing Co. "We were definitely worried, especially during winter because we got a lot less people. You wonder if it’s going to be the same as it was before, are we going to get better, but the community said, ‘Hey we love having you all here, we want to come out because we love supporting you.’ That’s been great."
Gov. Tim Walz recently announced a three-phase plan to end Minnesota's COVID-19 restrictions on businesses May 28 and remove the statewide indoor mask mandate by at least July 1.