MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – While churches will be able to hold  gatherings at 25% capacity starting Wednesday, restaurants will only be able to open with a maximum of 50 people eating socially distanced and only outside on June 1. Local restaurants, however, insist they need more.

There are nearly 11,000 restaurants in Minnesota. Between March and April, 49 % temporality closed and 90% laid off or furloughed workers.

Restaurants sales in 2019 in Minnesota were an estimated $11.6 billion. However, many estimate that they have lost $675 million in April alone. Of the 285,000 jobs in that same months, 150,000 have been laid of or furloughed.

In April, half of restaurants surveyed said if they did not get significant changes in guidance by July 1, they would go out of business permanently.

Gov. Walz announced Wednesday that restaurants would be allowed to reopen with outdoor seating, with a maximum of 50 patrons at a time.

Restaurants say allowing 50 outdoor diners is not nearly enough, pointing out that many do not even have an outdoor space.

“It was a huge surprise and a big disappointment for all of us to learn that was to be the first phase of reopening. It was a very difficult day for a lot of folks to try and understand how they are going to make it going forward,” said Liz Rammer, the President and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota.

The governor says limited indoor dining will be part of the next phase of reopening in Minnesota. But he says that at this point, he cannot responsibly give a date for when that next phase will happen.

Esme Murphy

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