Despite loosened restrictions on indoor dining, some restaurants are in no rush to reopen
Beginning Monday, January 11th, bars, restaurants, and other indoor activity venues began to open. This is in accordance with the recent loosening of Covid-19 restrictions by Governor Walz. However, while a good number of establishments have rushed to reopen, others are not as enthused. And this is due to a number of reasons.
Firstly, the coronavirus related shutdowns have been very arbitrary. Governor Walz came down on hard the service industry despite a lack of evidence of the effectiveness of these rules. In addition, the timing and duration of these lockdowns were very uncertain. Due to this, some business owners are very skeptical as to whether the recent reopening will be long-lived. Additionally, reopening at 50% is not financially viable for some business owners.
French Meadow Bakery and Café has decided to hold off until Friday to reopen its St. Paul location off Grand Avenue.
“I quite frankly wished the governor hadn’t opened 50 percent,” owner Lynn Gordon said. “At 50 percent, we lose money. It’s very expensive. And you lose money on produce and everything that you have that’s perishable.”
French Meadow Bakery’s St. Paul location has been hit especially hard. Gordon, who is 72, said she contracted COVID in mid-November, as did Francois Paradeise, the 75-year-old general manager of the St. Paul location.
While the restaurant’s Minneapolis location has been open for takeout during the pandemic, Gordon decided to shut down the St. Paul site entirely just after Thanksgiving.
“Personally, I’d rather we wait until it’s 100 percent seating,” she said, adding she believes another state-mandated shut-down of indoor dining is a possibility. “We feel very jerked around.”
She opened in Minneapolis on Monday, although with lots of skepticism.
“It was like plugging my nose and jumping in with no enthusiasm whatever, with skepticism beyond skepticism,” she said.
We cannot blame business owners for being cautious. Starting in March, when the lockdown orders were first introduced, it has been a whirlwind of ever-changing rules. Operations in the service industry have ranged from weeks of lockdown, followed by partial reopening, only to be locked down again. No business wants to operate in such a volatile environment.