MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Bars and restaurants across the state are now gearing up for a potential June 1 opening.

That’s the date Gov. Walz gave if they meet safety plans that are being put together by state health officials.

Those plans will be released next week.

“Volleyball teams running. Sixteen teams a night running. Playground up and running,” said Mike Kinnan, owner of the Lookout Bar and Grill.

For nearly 63 years the Lookout has made a living off of warm weather months. With their bars, patio and volleyball courts empty, they’ve been refurbishing and remodeling — waiting for a green light from the governor.

“Now that we have the two week notice, I don’t want to be closed for 2 more weeks, but at least we know where we’re at,” Kinnan said.

Kinnan said carry-out orders have helped but it’s not the same. Business is down 85% and they’ve gone from 130 employees to 15. But they’re hoping this news means happy hours and happier days aren’t far away. They have a plan in place for when their doors open.

“One thing huge advantage for us is we’re big. Even with six-feet social distancing we could get 30 tables on the patio,” Kinnan said.

A mile away from the Lookout, 65% of business at the Lotus Restaurant is dine-in.

“That’s one thing we miss is our customers sitting down and eating a nice, hot bowl of Pho each and every day,” said Hung Nguyen of the Lotus Restaurant.

Nguyen believes a good litmus test before re-opening will be how people respond to the stay-at-home order ending on May 18.

“That will show us concrete numbers. How are people reacting? Are they going out a lot? Are they ready to dine in?”

In the meantime he’s bringing employees back and developing a plan for social distance seating.

“We are very optimistic about the future. The love and support from the community has been nothing short of amazing,” Nguyen said.

John Lauritsen

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