Below are some links from December 16th – 20th as the MLBA responds to the lated extension of the prohibition of indoor on-sale and dining in the state of Minnesota until (at least) January 11th of 2021. The first three are radio interviews and the rest print media.
See below for the quotes and links to access the interviews and articles.
KARE 11 Click here
Tony Chesak, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, said a recent survey found that 84% of on-premises businesses will not be here in the next 90 days if things don’t change.
“We can open up safely, governor, we can really do this if you give us a chance,” Chesak said.
When asked if he supports the businesses that opened up Wednesday, Chesak said his take on that is “desperation.”
“When times get tough and things get desperate, people do things to keep themselves above the waterline,” Chesak said. “Do I blame these folks? No, I don’t blame these folks. … Do I support them? It’s a difficult spot they’re in. They have to make their decisions for themselves.”
Chesak said he thought the response from the state was “heavy-handed.”
Lakeland Public TV
Tony Cesak interviewed
WDAY (Fargo/Moorhead) “The Jay Thomas Show”:
Tony Interviewed (from 39:45 minute mark – 1:18:25) CLICK HERE
Jay talks about the new restrictions and extension of the previous ones for MN bars and restaurants as well as other small businesses and the fact that aid is a very small attempt to help. Tony Chesak of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association joins the show and said of their respondents to a recent survey, if these restrictions are extended any further into 2021, 84% of their association’s members will hand their keys to the bank and close their doors for good.
KTLK 1130AM (Twin Cities) “Justice & Drew Show”:
Tony Interviewed (from 2:00 minute mark – 11:03 minute mark) CLICK HERE
Hour 2: Lawsuits & Movements Against Walz’s Latest COVID-19 Restrictions
“We’ve had input, we’re all experts in our industry. We try to keep our people safe for generations in the industry. We’re not taking this lightly. We’ve done everything that the governor has told us to do. Through no fault of our own, we are bearing the brunt of this. We’ve spent thousands of dollars on equipment. There are several lawsuits pending, like Alibi Bar. It’s been difficult to advocate for people to open up. We’ve been providing information to people. Reach out to the governor – we need total engagement from our customer base.”
Dan ‘The Ox’ Ochsner KNSI News Radio (St. Cloud):
Tony Interviewed (17 minute segment) CLICK HERE
“We’ve been struggling with this as an industry since March. [I got a call about outdoor seating] and I said, ‘Is this real? Do better.’ This is not a dial-turn to the right, this is a dial-turn to the left. I told the regulators, ‘Tell International Falls, Roseau, first about outdoor seating, and see how they feel.’ This is a kick in the gut. I know that the way some of the breweries have outdoor space, heaters, and don’t have food. So inside or outside we’re a harder bunch. My family of four won’t be going to an establishment in the near future when it’s 15 degrees outside. A tent is allowed by the governor, but it has to have half the walls taken off. And we have to be closed by 10 o’clock, so we got hit three times today. [What happens to inventory when bars and restaurants are closed?] When I got the call that bars were shutting down on St. Patrick’s day, we did a bill asking for alcohol flexibility. We are not thumbing our nose at what we got, but we went back at it with another bill to allow up to 2 growlers, mixed cocktails, etc. The Legislature was not poised to take on the amendments to the bill during a special session. We had a sensible bill to allow restaurants to deplete their inventory, but we got nothing. We’ll have to rely on our distributors, but the half-tapped kegs are lost revenue. [You guys in Hospitality MN have been rising to the occasion, but legislators haven’t helped.] We had a seat at the table, but now conversations have been switched to biweekly. We talked with DEED about our industry. We gave a lot of suggestions, we accepted all the mandates, and we were told all along that if we complied, we could stay open. After 10 months of complying with these mandates, we’re not the problem. Our best guess is that 5,900 cases came from hospitality (and what if one case went to three bars in one evening?) we’re only responsible for 1.4-1.7% of cases. Over 50% of total cases are unknown where they come from. People’s backs are against the wall. They’ve got nothing left to lose. People are desperate and the governor is not making it any easier to make ends meet. The primary threat is to the license holders. We were asking for months for a penalty matrix for violations, but we never got one. The department has made it clear that they can take your license and shut you down if you don’t comply. The polling we’ve done suggest that if things continue as they are, in the next 90 days, about 84% of our people will be handing their keys back to the bank, shutting down. We’ve been told that through no fault of our own, we’re being held to a different standard than big-box stores. It’s hypocritical at best. We’ve been conditioned to keep people safe, keep people coming back. It’s disingenuous that we’re not given that opportunity.
Multiple organizations, including the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association and Hospitality Minnesota, have also expressed concerns about the extension of bar and restaurant closings, saying many small businesses can’t afford another shutdown and will close for good.
The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, which represents Minnesota’s small, family-owned liquor retailers, both on-sale (bars and restaurants) and off-sale (liquor stores), provided this statement: [full statement quoted]
Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director Tony Chesak issued a statement in response to Governor Walz extending closures of bars and restaurants saying: “Today’s news is not only devastating, it’s shameful and unjust. Minnesota’s hospitality industry has complied in good faith with mask mandates, limited service, and yet has only seen 1.76% of COVID cases tracked back to bars and restaurants. The data driving the decisions is not transparent to the public and isn’t being used to make our collective actions smarter or safer for all involved.
Governor Walz’s order continues blanket rules that are resulting in the near elimination of an entire industry, employing thousands of Minnesotans. The paltry offering of limited outdoor dining in the middle of a Minnesota winter doesn’t even begin to make up for the forced closures. While Governor Walz’s dials turn, more and more of Minnesota’s restaurants and bars will be forced turn their lights off permanently,” Chesak said.
Winona Daily News
Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association calls Walz’s order ‘devastating’
Tony Chesak, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, which represents small, family-owned on- and off-sale liquor retailers, issued a statement warning that the order will force a “near elimination” of the industry. “Today’s news is not only devastating, it’s shameful and unjust. Minnesota’s hospitality industry has complied in good faith with mask mandates, limited service, and yet has only seen 1.76 percent of COVID cases tracked back to bars and restaurants. The data driving the decisions is not transparent to the public and isn’t being used to make our collective actions smarter or safer for all involved,” the statement reads. Chesak added that being able to dine outdoors again during winter is untimely. “The paltry offering of limited outdoor dining in the middle of a Minnesota winter doesn’t even begin to make up for the forced closures. While Gov. Walz’s dials turn, more and more of Minnesota’s restaurants and bars will be forced to turn their lights off permanently.”