By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota entertainment venues are opening their doors for the first time in weeks after Gov. Tim Walz relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.

Bob McNeil is one of the first to take advantage of relaxed restrictions from the governor, which allows entertainment venues like Flaherty’s Arden Bowl to reopen.

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“They just want to come out here and bowl and if it means wearing a face covering, they are totally fine with that, “said Adam Flaherty.

Flaherty is general manager of this fourth generation business, that is the longest running family owned bowling business in the U.S.

He says people were anxious for the bar and bowling alley to open.

“To be able to get out with family and friends again, “ Flaherty said.

Everyone here has to social distance and wear a face covering. They’ve even found a way to allow leagues to continue while not overcrowding the space.

“They want to come in pre-bowl with their own team and they get their games out of the way and those scores are still applied towards their league days,” Flaherty said.

Nobody loves getting out and moving around more than McNeil and his buddies from Rosetown American Legion Post 542.

“It’s a great feeling to have to get out here and get the exercise here. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m happy that they are even able to open up,” said Bob McNeil.

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“And to start off, you are going to go through where it says ‘enter here’,” said Michelle Furrer.

Families made reservations to be the first to enter Como Zoo and Conservatory.

“We’re excited to welcome guests back to be able to connect with our plants and our animals once again,” Furrer said.

Sightseers rushed to see the Penguin and Polar Bear exhibit, all while wearing their masks.

“We haven’t been to the zoo in over a year, so it’s nice to finally get back to be able to see some of the animals, “ said Heather.

Zoo staff made sure to keep families spaced out while enjoying the sights.

“At the time they check in at the front of the visitors center which is a heart tent they’ll be directed through the zoo grounds on a one way path so that they can see everything but it will help us to social distance,” said Furrer.

Reservations are needed to visit Como Zoo between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day. They are free and available online. Flaherty’s Arden Bowl will close nightly at 10 p.m.

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Reg Chapman