What Minnesota's 4-week pause means for bars and restaurants

Bars and restaurants in the state of Minnesota must close for four weeks starting Saturday morning. 

The restrictions were announced Wednesday night by Gov. Tim Walz.

Bars and restaurants can continue to operate takeout and delivery services, but cannot serve in-person customers. This includes outdoor and patio dining.

The shutdown goes into effect Friday, Nov. 20 at 11:59 p.m. and runs through Dec. 18. The Governor's Office is calling it a Four-Week Dial Back. 

In a release, Walz said the state is at a "breaking point," as hospital beds fill up and case numbers spike across the state. 

"While these actions mean incredible hardship for many, they are the fastest way to recover our economy, keep our kids in school, and get back to the activities we love," Walz said. 

The state of Minnesota released this graphic Wednesday to show what businesses and activities will be dialed back as COVID-19 cases surge statewide. (Office of the Governor of Minnesota)

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 261 restaurants in the state have been investigated for suspected patron transmission of COVID-19 in Minnesota. From those, 4,145 unique cases have been connected to those establishments. 190 facilities qualified as "outbreaks." 

Area bars and restaurants told FOX 9 Wednesday that the shutdown will have to be paired with state financial assistance if the industry is going to survive.

Business owners are frustrated, especially after a number of them made investments in outdoor patios, plexi glass and air filtration systems.

Other establishments told FOX 9 they are annoyed at the short notice, as their food orders have been made for the weekend and holiday. They say some of that food will have to go to waste.

The owner of Jimmy’s Restaurant predicted the newest shutdown could have existential impacts for a large chunk of the industry in Minnesota.

“There’s going to be a major, major economic impact when it has to do with bars and restaurants unless there is some type of package that comes through,” he said. “I hate to say it, you might see 50-75 percent of restaurants cease existing if something isn’t done.”

One restaurant customer said they understand the Governor’s actions, but just wondered when enough is enough.

“I think the Governor is trying to balance the need for safety,” said the diner. “I think his motive is right. My concern is, I don’t want there to be overreach.”