This morning an urgent plea was sent to Minnesota bars and restaurants from the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, Hospitality Minnesota, and the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild to follow the COVID-19 guidelines issued by Governor Walz or risk the industry collapsing and ultimately not surviving.

The open letter to Minnesota bars and restaurants "strongly urges" all establishments to "follow these guidelines". The guidelines/requirements that should be followed according to the open letter are:

  • Have adopted and implemented a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
  • Ensure a minimum of 6 feet of distance between tables
  • No standing or congregating – people must be seated at tables or the bar
  • Limit indoor occupant capacity to no more than 50% up to 250 persons
  • Do not exceed 250 persons in outdoor spaces
  • Limit table service to 4 persons, or 6 if part of one family unit; 2 if at the bar
  • Require reservations
  • Require workers to wear masks at all times and strongly encourage customers to wear masks when not eating or drinking, especially indoors

[The full list from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is here.]

Executive director of the MLBA Tony Chesak stated in the letter that, "After bars and restaurants have been closed by executive order for many months, to now working with 50% indoor capacity, one of the very worst things that can happen to our industry is to go backwards. Industry partners are collaborating to advocate that both customers and business leaders work together to stay focused on helping the industry. And that means following the Executive Orders so we can, as soon as possible, re-open at 100% capacity.”

Lauren Bennet McGinty of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild didn't mince words when she stated in the open letter that, “Any deviance from the rules – even by a slim minority of individuals – can threaten the future of our favorite local businesses.”

The letter which was mostly targeted at establishments also had some advice for clients and customers too. The letter reminds customers and clients "that distancing of six feet and wearing masks in common areas is encouraged and appreciated and will have the greatest impact on slowing the spread of the virus."

Recently my favorite bar in the Twin Cities, Keegan's Pub, announced that it was closing for good as of today. “We can no longer sustain operations due to the recent pandemic related to COVID,” owner Marty Neumann announced on Facebook.

I would hate to see more people lose their livelihoods and jobs based on guidelines not being followed.

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