Gov. Tim Walz extends bar and restaurant closures until May

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 9:31 PM CDT
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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called for a shelter in place for the next two weeks, starting Friday night, to curb the spread of COVID-19.

With that, he also extended bar and restaurant closures until May 1st.

It's going to be another month of empty bar stools and booths on the east side of the Red River.

Gov. Walz says people sheltering at home is the best way to save lives during the pandemic.

"Our objective is to move the infection rate out, slow it down and buy time," Walz says. "That way the resources the ICU and hospitals need can be stood up."

He's asking Minnesotans to make sacrifices.

That includes many businesses, like Junkyard Brewing in Moorhead.

"We were optimistic that it would list off-sale and liquor stores as essential businesses, which would allow us to keep operating during a shelter in place order," Owner Aaron Juhnke says. "That gave us a little bit of comfort during this. It still hurts business quite a bit to have the taproom closed down."

Walz is allowing liquor stores to keep doors open.

Junkyard Brewing says if it wasn't for this, they might have had to close shop for good.

"I feel bad for those businesses," Juhnke says. "I can only imagine how much it would hurt to be totally shut down, totally closed and just watch everything stay idle."

Just next door, Sol Ave. Kitchen has only been operating for the past six months.

"It is very difficult when you are finding your momentum and getting your name out there," General Manager Anna Macy says. "Then suddenly you have to stop your normal protocol."

Uncertainty is circling the minds of many pubs and grubs.

"There's some things in the work to kind of help support small businesses," Baylee Engquised at Legends Bar & Grill says. "We don't know what the future holds."

Gov. Walz says he's asking for two weeks.

"I'm asking for your patience, your cooperation and your understanding," Walz says. "That if I'm asking you to sacrifice, I'm asking businesses to sacrifice. We are doing everything we can."

Gov. Walz says he understands there are many components that go into the order.

They want life to be as normal as possible under it.

Meaning, you can still go to the doctor, get groceries, get gas and spend time outside.

He asks, if it is not essential, please stay home.

The Gov. also says workers who provide essential services--law enforcement, health care, child care, food and agriculture, etc.--will be able to carry on.

He says the more we reduce these activities, the more people we can keep safe.

To learn more about the shelter at home order, we have the Governor's full statement on our Valley News Live Facebook page.

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