Minnesotans are once again flocking to Wisconsin where bars and restaurants remain open

On November 23rd the Minnesota CBS local news reported the following:

On a moonlit Monday night along the bustling main drag of Hudson, Wisconsin, hungry customers shuffled into bars and restaurants — many of whom call Minnesota home.

Joe and Jill Bonfe of Woodbury wanted to celebrate his birthday.

“We come over here quite a bit on weekends,” Joe Bonfe said. “We probably would have found a place in Woodbury, but being that everything’s closed up and just takeout right now, it’s kind of hard, you know, to plan on going out.”

Staff at several area restaurants said the rush of visitors who live west of the St. Croix River was immediate after the new restrictions started over the weekend in Minnesota. Bars and restaurants are closed to dine-in service until Dec. 18.

This is quite unsurprising and is similar to what happened earlier in May when Minnesota shut down its establishments.

Nathan Meilrosse is the assistant taproom manager at Hop and Barrel Brewing Company in Hudson.

“Saturday was one the busiest Saturdays we’ve had in months, and it was probably 75% – 80% from Minnesota,” Meilrosse said.

It somewhat reminds him of early May, when Wisconsin opened up as Minnesota stayed locked down. He adds a big change this time around is the amount of masks being worn in accordance with the state mandate.

“I feel like people are more aware of what really is going on,” he said.

This will be economically devastating

This is probably a trend that people in support of lockdowns will frown upon on the grounds that it will increase the spread of Covid-19. But Wisconsin has let its bars and restaurants open for much longer than Minnesota has during this pandemic and it has fared relatively better compared to Minnesota. So it’s not hard to say, priorities have been misplaced for Minnesota leaders.

What people need to worry about regarding this trend is how devastating the closures will be to Minnesota’s businesses. Because even though these closures are less likely to improve covid-19 outcomes, they will bring an end to so many establishments in Minnesota that people have spent time and money building

According to the Minnesota Department of Economic Development news release today, there are at least 8,500 restaurants in Minnesota and they employ over 100,000 Minnesotans. These are all lives and businesses that will be affected by the new restrictions. And unfortunately, the devastation does not end there. Bars and other businesses will also be impacted.

But going further than that, every action in the economy has a multiplier effect. People that lose jobs do not have the income to spend on other businesses. And that is a big loss to the economy, especially in the long run. Additionally, restaurants are not stand-alone businesses. They have suppliers and are one part of a long supply chain that will be disrupted.

Putting one part of a supply chain on halt affects every small entity involved. Whether it be farmers, distribution companies, or food processing companies. This is not an issue that targeted relief programs would help mitigate. What makes this loss even worse is the fact that there is no evidence linking significant Covid-19 spread to bars and restaurants, as John Phelan has illustrated.