MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)Wednesday’s announcement to reopen restaurants on Monday comes as great relief to business owners in Minnesota, but they are scrambling once again.

Just north of Minneapolis, you’ll find a cuisine from a country far south. Ronaldo Diaz is the owner of Marna’s Eatery & Lounge in Robbinsdale, which serves Costa Rican cuisine.

“We have come up with as many as possible ideas as we can to keep our heads above the water,” Diaz said.

COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted on Monday, allowing for indoor dining at half capacity. Diaz says he’s fully grateful, but not fully ready.

“We had to rearrange the place for to-go only, so we have furniture kind of all over the place, boxes,” Diaz said. “We have to re-clean and sanitize the space, we have to rearrange our staff, we have to reconfigure the menu for indoor and a lot of things, so it’s not something we can just do right away.”

(credit: CBS)

Justin Sutherland, owner of Handsome Hog in St. Paul, says he also needs more time, and won’t open till February.

Billy Tserenbat, owner of Billy Sushi in the North Loop, says he will open right away.

“The reopening, it’s just like, you know, Christmas miracle to us,” Tserenbat said.

He opened the restaurant in May and has yet to be able to fully open, but this he says will help.

“Everyone is exhausted and mentally stressful, but this opening thing, like today’s government announcement, is huge deal for this industry,” Tserenbat said.

An industry that has five days to change their business model once again.

“Hopefully today from now on we don’t need to close again and, you know, just get going,” Tserenbat said.

Hospitality Minnesota, the organization that’s been negotiating on behalf of restaurant owners, says 50% is the minimum occupancy needed to help restaurants cover costs. They applauded the governor’s decision.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield