A group of restaurant owners in central Minnesota have said they will re-open on Monday, even if the state's Stay at Home order is extended.
Kris Schiffler announced last week that the 6 locations of his Shady's Restaurant chain, in New Munich, Rice, Albany, Burtrum, Cold Spring, and St. Martin, will re-open to customers on Monday, which is when the state's Stay at Home order is due to end.
He says the bars will have sanitizing stations at every entry and told WJON he will remove 25-40 percent of barstools – though hopes to open at "full throttle" at some point.
He said his businesses won't survive on to-go orders for much longer, and also says he has the support from Albany City Council and the Stearns County Sheriff's Office.
"With that being said they really don’t have the power to over turn Gov. Walz," he wrote on Facebook.
"With that being said we are Americans, we have rights and we will execute those rights that our forefathers gave us."
He is being joined in re-opening by other Stearns County restaurants including Rookies Sports Bar in Albany, Grumpy's Bar in Cold Spring, Stoney's Bar in Rockville, Shady's Silver Spur in St. Martin, the Brickyard Bar & Banquet Hall in Pierz, and the Side Bar and Grill in Cold Spring.
It comes despite Stearns County being the site of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the state, with 1,443 confirmed cases and 6 deaths as of Sunday, of which 194 are employees at the Pilgrim's Pride poultry plant in Cold Spring.
Gov. Walz is making an announcement regarding a possible extension of the Stay at Home order this week.
He has previously said that dine-in service at restaurants would likely be among the last things to come back given their potential for close quarters contact that could spread the virus, but has said he's working with the hospitality industry to come up with solutions.
A raft of notable restaurants have announced their permanent closure following the shutdown, with some saying that even when the Stay at Home order is lifted, there's no guarantee they'll be able to stay afloat if the virus is still prevalent.
Schiffler says he has been reaching out to other small businesses in Stearns County to encourage them to re-open too – including hair salons – noting "we need to do this with large numbers."
"Open if you feel it’s safe, stop by and enjoy a cocktail and burger if you feel it’s safe. If you don’t feel safe and your sick = STAY HOME," he said. "We appreciate all the support from everyone and hope continue to Make America Great Again!"