As Minnesota continues to make preparations to get to grips with the coronavirus outbreak, one Twin Cities restaurateur has revealed plans he hopes will assuage the fears of anxious diners.
Tim Niver, the owner of Saint Dinette in St. Paul and Mucci's Italian restaurants in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, revealed on Monday a "new set of precautionary measures for cleanliness, health and wellness for our staff and guests."
"We increased surface sanitizing stations and enlisted Ecolab to install hand sanitizer stations in common and work areas," he tweeted.
"Our staff will be well versed on our new hand washing and sanitizing standards and will be encouraged to use paid sick time when necessary. We believe in our ability to provide the safest environment for our esteemed guests and employees."
With Minnesota only just coming out of the slow winter period that has seen many eateries and bars shut down, restaurants would usually be banking on an uptick in business once the warm weather arrives.
The outbreak of the coronavirus threatens that, with media outlets in states where they have been more confirmed cases of the virus reporting that restaurants and hotels have seen a "fast decline in business," while conference and events centers have seen bookings canceled.
Coronavirus funding package approved
Minnesota has only had two confirmed cases of the coronavirus so far, and health officials are hopeful that these patients have not transmitted it to anyone else.
On Monday, legislators are expected to pass a multi-million dollar package to address COVID-19 preparations, with a $21 million package passing the Minnesota Senate around lunchtime.
A similar package is expected to be passed in the House on Monday afternoon, with Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders agreeing that tackle the virus should be the state government's number one priority.
Gov. Walz praised the Legislature for working in a "totally nonpartisan manner," saying he thinks he'll be able to sign the off on the funding package this week.