MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Many employees who had been working from home for the past year are back in the office.

In downtown Minneapolis, the buzz is starting to pick back up, as Tuesday is one of three return-to-office waves set for the summer. Roughly 300 restaurants and retail businesses are open, according to the downtown council.

“Even last week we were probably doing 120-130 orders, so it’s certainly picking up,” said Sara Popma, an employee at Sushi Takatsu.

Though the restaurant took a two-week pause in March of 2020, they’ve spent this past year serving anyone willing to visit the skyway location in the Baker Center. Before the pandemic, they were averaging 250-300 orders a day.

It dropped to about 30 orders a day during stretches last year. Sushi Takatsu was the only restaurant open in the Baker Center for a while, mostly feeding construction workers and people who would go into the office once every few weeks.

Popma said she was scared and thought she might lose her job when things looked bleak. But now, she’s feeling optimistic.

“Instead of sitting around and waiting for people to walk by now we’ve got a line again and people are starting to notice, which is great. Makes the line even longer,” she said.

Downtown council says about a quarter of the downtown workforce is back in person.

The two other days that are popular for a return to the office are the day after the Fourth of July and the day after Labor Day.

Christiane Cordero