MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz is set to loosen COVID-19 restrictions Wednesday afternoon.

It’s been a chilly few weeks for Minnesota diners, with outdoor dining only. But they will soon be able to warm up.

The Little Oven on St. Paul’s east side is on standby, according to manager Joe Lindgren.

“We’re gonna come out with a bang and do some great specials,” Lindgren said.

He says he’ll be offering $11 homemade pastas and steaks and $1 glasses of wine — if the governor says what Lindgren hopes he will on Wednesday.

“I hope he reopens for the 50% [indoor dining capacity],” he said.

(credit: CBS)

The governor’s office isn’t offering any specifics yet, but Ben Wogsland of Hospitality Minnesota says his organization is also asking for 50% indoor dining capacity.

“Obviously we’d like capacity to be higher than that, but that’s really the floor to be able to even break even as a restaurant,” Wogsland said. “At 25% you simply cannot make money in the restaurant setting.”

WCCO looked at other states with similar COVID case numbers. Michigan has no indoor dining as of now. North Dakota has 50% capacity, and Oregon goes county by county, up to 50% indoor dining capacity.

Even though it’s not official, Minnesota restaurants are prepping and hopeful they will soon be open at half capacity.

“We’d be happy to see everybody on Monday,” Lindgren said.

A WCCO Twitter Poll with thousands of responses shows that if the governor allows indoor dining again, 45% say they will be back at the restaurants right away, while 55% say they won’t be comfortable.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield