By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s no surprise that businesses on the Minnesota lakes will see some of their largest crowds of customers this holiday weekend.

However, in the middle of a pandemic, restaurants will have to operate a little differently to keep staff and customers safe.

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“It’s definitely a very different holiday weekend than usual,” said Collin Bhojwani, who is one of many enjoying outdoor dining at the newest lakeside restaurant in Wayzata, The Grocer’s Table.

He noticed a decent crowd at the restaurant the Friday before the holiday.

“Definitely a little surprised when it’s crowded and you’re not sure what to do,” said Bhojwani.

Owner, Lindsay Pohlad assures customers they are taking safety precautions.

“We are requiring masks for anyone who comes in,” said Pohlad. She says her staff is also mandating the number of people inside the restaurant and market place at one time.

“Once we get to a point where we reach capacity on the inside, then we have people wait outside in line and people have been really respectful and understanding,” said Pohlad.

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Over at Long Lake, the lake view deck at Birch’s On The Lake normally has double the amount of tables, but they’ve cut that number in half in order to keep guests separated.

“These tables would be a lot tighter in here. It still looks good we just filled it in with a lot of different plants to make it feel more comfortable and cozy,” said Burton Joseph, the owner of Birch’s On The Lake.

The deck will be first-come-first-serve. Reservations will be required only for the indoor supper club.

“We put out some picnic tables outside to have a waiting area with separation,” said Joseph.

Joseph says they also have plans in place for large groups and families that will likely stop by this holiday weekend.

“There’s groups and parties that want to be bigger. We’ll separate them out, we’ll separate them out so they may have two groups of six,” said Joseph.

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Most restaurants we talked to on Lake Minnetonka said even though all their reservations are full, they will do what they can to accommodate walk-ins.

Marielle Mohs