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Gov. Tim Walz's latest Executive Order loosens rules for outdoor dining

Some restaurants in the Twin Cities have delayed opening up for outdoor dining amid continued unrest.

Gov. Tim Walz took action Tuesday to make it easier for restaurants to open up outdoor dining areas amid the coronavirus crisis, but some stakeholders say it’s time for indoor dining to open back up.

Walz’s latest executive order expands outdoor dining areas to trunk highway right-of-way spaces under the state’s Stay Safe order. As of Monday, restaurants and bars in the state are allowed to open for outdoor dining at limited capacity.

Under the Stay Safe order, restaurants and bars should limit capacity to 50 customers and require masks for employees. The city of Minneapolis is also allowing establishments to apply for temporary permits to expand outdoor eating to parking lots and green space, as are a number of Minnesota cities.

But the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, which represents bars, restaurants and liquor stores, urged Walz to open up for indoor dining in a Tuesday release.

“Minnesota bars and restaurants are ready to be safely opened as soon as possible for indoor dining. We have preparedness plans, have significant experience working with strong safety regulations, and will protect our customers, staff, and vendors,” the release read.

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MLBA noted other states including Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan have started to open up indoor dining.

Walz announced last month that places of worship could begin to open up at 25 percent capacity to no more than 250 visitors. Walz said this change would not impact his stance on bars and restaurants, noting they would still be limited to outdoor dining for the time being.

As the Twin Cities continues to face unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death, some restaurants, including Finnegans Brew Co. in downtown Minneapolis and 318 Cafe in Excelsior have announced they will delay their outdoor openings. 

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