Restaurant reopening guidelines set to be announced Wednesday, but some have their own ideas

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to reveal his plan for the reopening of restaurants, bars, and salons.
Patio table outdoor dining

Wednesday will be a huge day for Minnesota's restaurants, with Governor Tim Walz set to release the first look at the state's proposed guidance for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor has set a tentative date of June 1 for reopening, with the guidance coming on Wednesday covering the resumption of dine-in service at bars and restaurants, as well as barbershops and hair salons.

But even before the plan is released, Minnesota restaurants have been revealing their own plans for how reality might look after reopening, with the governor expected to include measures such as capacity restrictions to maintain social distancing.

Soul food eatery Milton's VVB in Crystal on Sunday posted its plans for "Phase 1" of reopening, the key feature of which is "patio only" dining, with tables separated by planter boxes that act as dividers – "think of rooms outside!"

There will also be sanitizing supplies available for diners, menus will be available by a mobile device, and reservations have limited seating time, up to 1.5 hours.

The patio-only model is also being considered in Stillwater, where the city proposed this week an ordinance that would allow restaurants to use parking lots and street parking spaces for patio seating for customers.

FOX 9 reports that the plans have been put forward in anticipation that the governor's guidance will likely include a 50 percent capacity restrictions.

But June 1 will come too soon for some restaurants, notably two-time James Beard Award winner Gavin Kaysen.

On Monday, his company Soigne Hospitality announced that his restaurants, Spoon & Stable in Minneapolis and Bellecour in Wayzata will not be ready to open for service on June 1.

"The health and safety of our employees and patrons continues to be our first priority, and we are actively planning and preparing for the new requirements of service that will allow us to open with confidence."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The challenge of reopening under reduced capacity is one being considered by Minneapolis' Birchwood Cafe, whose owner Tracy Singleton noted on Twitter this week that it now comes with the added headache of sourcing and, crucially, paying for personal protective equipment, touchless technology, and health screening equipment such as thermometers.

She told the Business Journal this week that the federal loans aimed at supporting small businesses can cover employee wages, but not PPE and other equipment vital to reopening safely.

"We're a very low margin business to begin with," she told BMTN on Twitter. "For ours, we pay more for our locally sourced ingredients & higher wages since we eliminated tips. We're all looking atr evenues & costs to reopen (masks, thermometers, new software, touchless doors, etc. It's not good."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.15.09 PM

Small town gym refusing to close facing lawsuit from attorney general

The gym is facing a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to halt their operations.

credit card, payment

Money Gal Coaching: Bouncing back after living your best life

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.


When do stores open on Black Friday this year?

Many major retailers will be open Black Friday, some for extended hours.

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead outside home near Cass Lake

The man was reportedly shot outside the property.


Gov. Walz announces $1M in grants to boost Minnesota tourism

The money will be used for marketing efforts to attract people to Minnesota's hard-hit tourist spots.

coronavirus, ICU

Nov. 25 COVID-19 update: 72 deaths ties Minnesota's single-day high

A COVID-19 update will not be provided on Thanksgiving Day.


Revival to open its fourth Twin Cities location

The fried chicken and smoked meat maestros are moving to St. Louis Park.

Duluth and Case Recreation Center

St. Paul to open two extra temporary shelters for homeless people

Mayor Melvin Carter announced the new shelters will be opened in the event of excess demand.

vote, election

Minnesota once again had the highest election turnout in the country

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a record percentage of voters also sent in absentee ballots.



Walz to announce 'phased plans' for bar, restaurant reopenings

The governor is expected to lay out plans for reopening dine-in service.

Gov. Time Walz

Gov. Walz announces new plans for bars, restaurants, salons, campgrounds

Gov. Tim Walz has announced his plans for the reopening of bars and restaurants.

Governor Tim Walz

Coronavirus: Gov. Tim Walz to hold Wednesday press conference

He's expected to announce guidance for the reopening of Minnesota restaurants and bars.

Lord Fletcher's

Some restaurant leaders, owners decry 'disastrous' outdoor dining plan

A maximum of 50 guests are allowed outdoors under the latest order from Gov. Tim Walz.


Walz to announce new COVID-19 restrictions at Tuesday press conference

He will reportedly reduce the opening hours of bars and restaurants.


American Legion of MN calls on Gov. Walz to allow bars to reopen

There has been pushback to the governor's plan to only allow patio dining to reopen.

Muddy Waters, coronavirus, covid-19

Walz: Change to restaurant, bar guidance unlikely before June 1

Churches can allow 25% capacity up to 250 people, but bars and restaurants can only serve a max of 50 customers outside only.