Minnesota restaurants, gyms prepare for loosened COVID-19 restrictions starting Wednesday

Businesses across Minnesota are preparing to take another step toward normalcy as more COVID-19 restrictions are set to loosen on Wednesday.

Inside Tom's Reid's Hockey City Pub in St. Paul on Tuesday, people took temporary cover from the rain pounding the patio. Mother Nature has been one of the challenges of serving folks outside amid the phased reopening plan. Starting Wednesday, the restaurant will be welcoming back regulars into their booths.

"We're looking forward to opening the doors and at least having 50 percent inside,” said Reid. “We seat normally about 300 people in this restaurant, so having 150 people is much better than not."

Reid says his staff have practiced some dry runs on what the logistics of operating his venue will look like at 50 percent capacity and he's confident people are excited to come back and will follow the new guidance.

"Reservations are required,” said Reid. “We want people to call in here and reserve a table. If you're going by and you want to stop in, we have room and we'll accommodate you, but more importantly, we get their name and their phone numbers, so we have a tracking system if necessary if something were to happen."

As the number of COVID-19 cases trends downward health officials are turning the dial and allowing more entertainment and businesses to open. One of the last industries to get the green light was gyms.

"We are very excited to get back - our entire team is," said Mike Jones, who owns an Alchemy 365 franchise in the Twin Cities.

Jones says boutique gyms like his are uniquely positioned to serve their members with CDC-recommended guidelines like social distancing, sanitizing between each class and minimizing contact.

"So people come in, they walk in without touching anything, they walk to their space where they have their equipment laid out for them,” said Jones. “The instructor has their own space. When they're done, they put it down and they leave."

Under Phase III of the reopening plans, movie theaters will be able to reopen and increased capacity will be allowed for some businesses like hair salons. For more guidance, click here.