By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It has been two weeks since Minnesota bars and restaurants were allowed to re-open at 50% capacity. It’s working for some, while others are struggling.

At Lynde’s Restaurant and Catering in Osseo, the atmosphere is as important as the giant pancakes. Mark Lynde is the owner.

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“It’s coming back. I would hope to say that the worst is behind us,” Lynde said.

Like so many others, they’ve survived two shutdowns. The second one forced them to furlough about 20 employees. Business was down 90% at Lynde’s during the month of December. Since re-opening, it’s now down about 50%, and they are hoping it can only go up from there.

Fifty-percent capacity means they’ve had to scale back on their hours and their seating, but Lynde feels they’ve proven they can operate safely. He’s hoping that soon the governor will allow them to open up even more.

(credit: CBS)

“Our biggest clientele is come in and sit down, and when we have a booth that seats four people and we’re only allowed to put two people there, that makes it difficult to maximize our profits,” Lynde said.

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Across town at JC’s in Maple Grove, the past two weeks have also been a learning experience, according to general manager Raul Garcia.

“We’re learning that, you know, we can do more than what we thought we could,” Garcia said.

For them, indoor dining has nearly returned to where it was before the last shutdown. But the state-mandated 10 p.m. curfew means they’re missing the bar crowd that would stick around until 2 a.m., says bartender Katy Johnson.

“The bars and restaurants around here close earlier than we do, so we always got that late-night push,” Johnson said.

Still, the right mix for Johnson’s bank account and mental health has been a return to work.

“I’m happy to be back to work making money [laughs], getting off unemployment, you know, getting out of the house,” she said.

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John Lauritsen