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.

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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.

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“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.

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

John Lauritsen