AP Source: Minnesota to close bars, restaurants, gyms for 4 weeks


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is planning to announce new COVID-19 restrictions that will shut down indoor dining at bars and restaurants, close gyms and fitness centers, and put organized indoor youth sports on hold for four weeks.

Bars and restaurants will still be allowed to offer takeout during the four-week pause, according to a person with knowledge of the governor’s plan. That person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak ahead of the governor’s Wednesday night announcement.

Business groups point out that little state or federal aid is available for them this time around.

Walz told reporters Tuesday that the state is trying to ease the strain on hospitals.

Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director Tony Chesak, issued a statement on the governor’s plan.

“Today’s news is heartbreaking, and the impact will be devastating. It will most certainly mean significant increased unemployment and further permanent loss of our bars and restaurants across Minnesota.

The hospitality industry has shifted and invested heavily to protect both staff and patrons, and is still barely afloat. The short timeline we are now given for indoor closure will also result in unused inventory left to perish and leave small businesses further in the red.

Bars and restaurant leaders and staff are heading into a bleak holiday season with little to no support from our elected leaders. The state and federal government both need to take steps to aid employees and the hospitality industry with relaxed regulations, direct financial support, unemployment assistance, and loans to get through this dark winter. ‘In this together’ can’t be merely a slogan or our state will see devastating economic fallout on the other end of the pandemic.” 

We strongly encourage Minnesotans to support small businesses by purchasing take-out and gift cards whenever possible.” 

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