Coronavirus Updates

UPDATE (3/16/20, 4:30pm cdt):

Governor’s Press conference today at 5pm. As of 5pm on March 17th all bars, restaurants, golf courses, movie theaters, etc will be mandated to close until March 27th. More will be revealed such as the extent of the closures at the 5pm Press Conference. Stay tuned, will update after press conference.

UPDATE (3/16/20, 4:00pm cdt):

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has enacted a local state of emergency that will limit access to the city’s bars and restaurants.

The mayor says that food establishments will only be able to provide takeout, delivery and drive-thru services starting noon on Tuesday.

The city will also no longer issue permits for gatherings of 50 or more people, though since then President Trump has said the government advises against gatherings of 10 or more people.

While it’s not known in which cities confirmed COVID-19 cases are located, Hennepin County has the most cases out of any county in the state.

UPDATE (3/16/20, 3:30pm cdt):

President Trump’s task force has recommended that people:

  • school from home, if possible
  • avoid gatherings of more than 10 people
  • avoid discretionary travel
  • avoid bars, restaurants limit gatherings to 10  people or less for at least the next 15 days.

This is only a recommendation at this point but more closings are expected. Stay tuned.


— From Monday morning, March 16th —


As of today (Monday morning, March 16, 2020), there has been no indication that there will be bar or restaurant closures by the State of Minnesota or at the Federal level. However, Governor Walz announced recently about possible closures, “I have to be candid,” he said. “That may become an option. … We are thinking about that.”

Governor Walz has called a 5pm news conference along with his Health Commissioner and Economic Development Commissioner “to announce further action to curb the spread of COVID-19.”

Individual states such as Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington state and New York City are among the places that have ordered bars to close and restaurants to stop dine-in service. Takeout and delivery will still be allowed.

We have been receiving reports of restaurants and bars taking a significant hit and even closing as more social distancing mandates and suggestions take place. Yes, people are scared and yes, many of these fears can be justified. We encourage taking all of the precautions necessary to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Increasing proper hand washing techniques, using gloves whenever necessary, do not come to work if you are not feeling well and just plain old fashioned common sense! We have a part in this and by taking all precautions necessary, we can help.

The MLBA is closely monitoring this situation and are at the table, making sure your businesses are protected. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected] We know that a lot of decisions will be made quickly and in most cases, on the fly. [email protected]

Tony Chesak
MLBA Executive Director
[email protected]


— From Friday, March 13th —

MLBA Members,

I know some of you have concerns about receiving product, posting and general delivery issues. I have had and will continue to have conversations with your wholesalers to make sure you are current on all things hospitality related.


As of Friday afternoon, March 13th, I have been in contact with wholesaler representatives. This is what they are telling me:

Deliveries will not be interrupted. If a retailer does not want a distributor to come into the store to solicit orders, they should advise the distributor of that request and I am sure that they will comply.

If an employee of a distributor displays symptoms of the virus, they will be instructed to self-quarantine or seek medical attention. All distributors are developing or have developed a contingency plan to ensure continuity of service in this environment. I think that it is important to provide our members with accurate information, do everything that we can to ensure that we protect their health and safety, and still provide the goods and services necessary to conduct their businesses.


You all know that at times, getting posted can be a tremendously expensive and an incredible inconvenience! We are also working with your wholesalers to make sure, during these times, that the wholesalers pay extra attention of managing the no ship list. We are asking for more communication as to when bills may be due and to allow for additional time to process all requests.

There has already been indicated that there will be some federal payroll tax cuts for you. Also, we have been working with the legislature and industry partners to discuss local aid to small business as a predicted result of lost revenue as the pandemic increases in coverage.

We also need to remain calm and provide appropriate leadership. We as an MLBA want to be your association that you can contact for all your alcohol and hospitality needs. Our number one priority is to ensure yours and your customer’s safety. We will continue to monitor and advocate for you, the independent alcohol retailer.

Lastly, in case of a potential government shutdown, we at the MLBA, passed legislation years ago that in fact, if certain governmental agencies may be shut down, your ability to do business is ensured. Buyers cards will still be active and you will be able to receive product throughout the process.

If you have any questions, concerns or issues, PLEASE contact myself and I will help you come to resolution.

Stay safe,
Tony Chesak
MLBA Executive Director