Some restaurants choose to delay opening patio amid unrest in Twin Cities

Today is the first day restaurants can reopen their patios amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Some restaurants have decided to delay reopening their patios due to curfews and ongoing unrest in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd. 

Restaurants that have been closed to dine-in customers since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic are allowed to reopen outdoor seating, with restrictions, starting Monday, June 1. (Other businesses, like salons and barbershops, are also allowed to reopen Monday.)

Cities have tried to help restaurants that may not have outdoor space to serve customers by allowing them to use parking lots, sidewalks and green space. 

But, despite plans to reopen, some have chosen not to quite yet.

The owner of 318 Cafe in Excelsior, who lives in Minneapolis, posted on Facebook Monday that she is delaying the reopening of the patio until Wednesday, June 10. 

"The situation in our neighborhoods is very difficult and very unsafe. Curfews are likely to be extended for Minneapolis residents much later into the week, and it will be difficult for me to come and go in order to do what I need to do to set up our rad parking lot patio and be with my staff while we reopen, and be back with my family during the relative safety of daylight hours," the post said. 

Finnegans Brew Co. in downtown Minneapolis had unveiled its newly reconfigured, socially distant patio last week, but has been forced to shelve its plans to reopen.

"Our Finnegans community was looking forward to coming together on our courtyard patio beginning June 1st. In light of what is happening in our city, now is not the right time to reopen.

"We are deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd and the recent violence that has marred the many peaceful protests in our city. We look forward to opening when we can be certain our staff and customers feel safe and will alert you at that time."

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Among the others pushing back their patio reopening is Betty Danger's and Psycho Suzi's in Northeast Minneapolis. which say they will attempt to reopen this Friday, but if not it will likely be June 12.

Others have changed their hours to close earlier to allow staff to get home and beat the curfew that was in effect over the weekend across much of the Twin Cities. State officials said Monday the curfew has been extended for the next two nights in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but with times changed to 10 p.m.-4 a.m.

Liz Rammer, president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, told BMTN: "We do know that some operators are opting to hold off on opening their outdoor dining service due to safety concerns.

"Employee and customer safety is always a top priority. Yet the evolving situation related to civil unrest adds further uncertainty and difficulty to restaurant operators attempting to reopen to patio-only dining. The faster we can move to in-dining the better to provide the best possible chance for our Minnesota restaurants to survive."

Another establishment, 56 Brewing in Minneapolis chose to close Monday to give staff a break – and to donate food.

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