Minnesota businesses say they can open safely, ask for governor for reconsideration

Local businesses across Minnesota are inundating state offices with calls and emails, begging for help  re-opening their doors.

Keith Miller owns a local dog wash franchise called Bubbly Paws, which has four locations across the metro. He says he has written to every leader and industry group he can think of.

Miller says he has come up with a system that would not require any human interaction. In addition, employees would wear masks and expand disinfecting procedures.

“If we were to open for grooming, we basically would break even,” said Miller. “So its not driven by money but the passion and care for the animals.”

Last week, Governor Tim Walz said state officials would look into expanding exemptions to the stay-at-home order, but amendments have yet to be made.

Miller expressed frustration that big box stores continue to operate, while 40 of his employees are out of work.

“Coming to us for dog grooming, you have less of a risk of contracting COVID-19 than going to Starbucks and getting a coffee in the drive thru,” he said.

Across the country, large retailers PetCo and PetSmart continue to offer grooming. Both companies said they have haulted grooming in Minnesota, as the order explicitly says groomers are not exempt from the stay-at-home order.

As for Miller, he says he has received state and federal assistance, but he worries about the health of his clients.

“It’s the end of winter, the dogs are starting to get matted and matting just grows and grows and grows,” said Miller. “Its actually a health concern. Its like pulling your hair all the time so its really painful for dogs.”