Minnesota’s bars and restaurants are a pillar of our state, and feel great responsibility for the role played in the lives of our guests and staff. Our independent, small businesses are responsive, generous, and now, distressed. MLBA Executive Director Tony Chesek has been in direct contact with the Governors office the last several days and has been informing the governor of our immediate and future financial hardships.
On Monday, March 16th, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an emergency executive order to curb the spread of COVID-19, temporarily closing bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation. Beginning Tuesday, March 17 at 5 PM and continuing through March 27 at 5 PM, restaurants, food courts, cafes, bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, and more, are not allowed to have dine-in service (on-premise consumption). No mention is made in the executive order about those in small towns in Greater MN with “combination on/off-sale” licenses, so those stores may remain open, but only for sale of alcohol to be sold in original packaging, unopened and consumed off-premises.
Delivery, pick-up, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service, are encouraged. The executive order does not prohibit employees, contractors, vendors, or suppliers from using the facility. The full executive order can be found here. In addition to bars and restaurants, theaters, museums, fitness centers, amusement parks, golf clubs, and more, are also closed for on-premise patrons.
The Governor also noted in Monday’s press conference that the end-date will be evaluated was likely to last longer. In addition, speaking at the Governor’s press conference were restaurant owners who noted the devastating situation for the industry – both staff and owners – who now, with little to no income, still have expenses for staff, rent, property and other taxes, and more.
We will continue to work closely with political leaders and keep in touch with our industry members in the coming days.