Minneapolis business owners are reeling after Governor Mayor Jacob Frey’s latest order closing “bar areas” indefinitely starting Saturday.
According to the Minnesota Emergency Regulation 2020-17, counter service at bar areas will be prohibited. The regulation extends to dance floor areas, stages, game rooms, or “any space that is undefined or does not provide for seated food and/or beverage service.” The city estimates that this will impact more than 640 businesses.
Mayor Frey cited the city’s greater number of positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population compared to rest of Minnesota as a reason for issuing this order. Frey also attributed the recent uptick in cases as a combination opening of outdoor and indoor seating at the beginning of last month and young adults congregating in bars, restaurants, and clubs.
The order doesn’t give businesses much time to adjust accordingly. After months struggling to stay afloat, many are wondering how their businesses will survive this latest order.
“We are barely hanging on. Thirty-nine years of business,” lamented co-owner of the Loan Cafe in Minneapolis, ” Tim Mahoney said, according to KTSP. “When I found out what Mayor Frey was going to do, it was like someone stabbed me in the heart.”
As of Tuesday, approximately 25 restaurants in Minnesota are closed permanently due to state orders for COVID-19, according to bringmethenews.org.
Business owners like Stephanie Shimp, co-owner of Freehouse with Blue Plate Restaurant Group, add that businesses adhering to state guidelines shouldn’t be punished for other businesses’ violations of state orders.
“If I could tell the mayor anything, I would say this: please go talk to the offenders, take care of the people who are breaking the rules and not necessarily make this one size fits all,” Shimp told CBS Minnessota.
Just ten days ago, fourteen Minnesota bars and restaurants received warnings for violating the state’s COVID-19 guidelines. Violations included employees not wearing masks, tables not positioned at least six feet apart, and serving at more than 50 percent capacity. Three of the bars were in Minneapolis. Health officials point to these instances as the main aggressor for the spread of the coronavirus.
“I think bars and restaurants are playing a substantial role in transmission right now,” Dr. Olsterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota told Fox 9. “Younger-aged people [are] getting infection, many not getting very ill at all, but transmitting it to others who are higher risk. I think at this point, that is our overall number-one location [for outbreaks].”
Other health officials also back Weber’s order and assessment pinpointing the biggest causes of coronavirus outbreaks. Earlier this month, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcom linked around 300 positive cases to bar-hopping since every case was a person in their 20s who’d visited the same bars.
Minneapolis Health Commissioner Gretchen Musicant said in a public statement that the order follows national expert recommendations based on local public health data and information sweeps by City Environmental Health inspectors.
Emergency Regulation 2020-17 will take effect 5 pm this Saturday. Business owners can call (612) 673-2080 or email [email protected] if they have any questions.
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