Businesses await decision on COVID-19 pause in Minnesota, passage of relief package

Governor Walz is set to make a decision this week on whether or not he will extend the latest COVID-19 pause in Minnesota is set to expire on Friday.

The four-week pause issued last month via an executive order by the governor barred indoor service for bars and restaurants and closed gyms while putting limits on social gatherings.

The order came as a COVID-19 spike raged in Minnesota. But it also came during a critical time of the year for many businesses that had already been hit hard by the pandemic.

Governor Walz says his team is continuing to review the latest data before he makes a final decision on whether to continue restrictions.

For business owners, there is a lot on the line if the extension goes on. But, they're also paying attention to a special session set to start Monday in which lawmakers could pass a relief package to assist workers and struggling businesses.

Jesse Pfliger, the owner of Nonna Rosa in Robbinsdale, says this latest round of restriction has been especially hard on his employees.

"We’ve got, you know, single moms that work for me and are like 'I don’t even know where the next paycheck is coming from,'" Pfliger said.

He’s hoping state leaders are cooking up a plan to help those workers and the businesses that feel like they’ve been put on the backburner. "We need to really have our lawmakers step up and fund the business that are affected but not just the businesses. Really the employees and all the people."

Gym owners have also taken a hit from restrictions.

"Part of me is hopeful we’ll open because I would love to see everybody and it would be great I think as a business," said Northeast Fitness owner Kiersten Latowski.

Latowski is hoping to welcome back her members soon but knows even if she can open next week, some won’t be back for a while.

"I do think that people are hesitant to come back in full force," she explained.

Lawmakers are set to get back to work on Monday while Walz's decision on potentially continuing the pause might not come until Wednesday.