Week after restart, Minnesota bars glad to see customers return
ST. LOUIS PARk, Minn. (FOX 9) - Cheers during Sunday afternoon’s football game is a sound that Park Tavern staff haven’t heard in nearly two months.
It’s been one week since restaurants reopened following Gov. Tim Walz's latest executive order allowing indoor dining.
"It feels like people can see an end in sight," said bartender Dylan O’Donnell, who told FOX 9 in an interview the shutdowns have been challenging.
"It feels good to be back with co-workers who feel like family," he said. "Everyone has gone through a lot over the last few months here. It feels nice to be out of the house again and back to somewhat of a normal routine."
Gov. Walz's new executive order limits indoor dining to 50 percent capacity with a 150-person max and mandatory social distancing. Park Tavern Owner Phillip Weber said the reopening will help make up for some of the loss he’s witnessed in just a year.
"My business is down by 95 percent, so it’s just barely registered a pulse," he said. "We were able to stay open for takeout but that’s just the tip of the iceberg […] no one can survive off that."
Weber has also reopened the bowling alley at the tavern following the loosening of restrictions on indoor entertainment. He said it's a sign that his business will eventually return to normal again.
"I can’t afford not to be optimistic; I’m the eternal optimist," said Weber. "I want to do everything I can possibly do to make people feel it’s a normal experience again when they walk in."
Under the governor's new orders, reservations are required at all restaurants if you want to dine-in and indoor service is banned from 10 p.m. through 4 a.m.