MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the first ladies lunch out for Rita Gaspar and her friends she’s known since high school.

“It’s wonderful! I’m just thrilled to be here, it’s been a long time,” she said.

She’s one of about a dozen guests getting the first indoor dining experience at Birch’s On the Lake in Orono.

Owner Burton Joseph is happy to see regulars again, but he says the transition to re-open has not been easy.

“It’s like opening up a brand new restaurant,” he said.

When they arrive, customers will see the emphasis on cleanliness throughout the restaurant. But Burton will see a significant loss in summer business.

Gov. Walz’s restrictions prevent him from seating more than 25o people at a time.

“This restaurant, this time of year, including the deck, we can be over 370 people for seating,” he said.

Elsie’s Bowling Alley in Northeast Minneapolis is ready for customers to fill the lanes again, but only half of them for now.

“We’re allowing every other lane available,” said General Manager Dawn Swart. They’ve also put up plexi-glass at the counters and bowling balls will be sanitized after each use. They will also pick out your ball for you.

Movie theaters, pools, concert venues are also allowed to reopen with 50% capacity. Though WCCO called around to several movie theaters in the Twin Cities, none of them were choosing to reopen yet.

Even locally-owned theaters said they are still a few weeks away from being ready.

Marielle Mohs

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