Minnesota loosens restrictions on indoor dining

More people are now allowed at tables
Minnesota loosens restrictions on indoor dining
Photo credit Getty Images

Minnesota bars and restaurants are now able to increase indoor seating under new guidelines from the state health department. But will it be enough to save them?

Indoor capacity has been boosted to 50%, with ten people now allowed to be seated at indoor dining tables, and four at bar tables.

The relaxed restrictions are intended to alleviate a drop in business when patio season ends, and to accommodate larger groups during the holidays.

Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine food writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl says despite the progress, restaurant owners are still in a tough spot.

"They can't raise prices, because people are so sensitive to the prices," said Grumdahl. "They don't have anywhere to get money from during all of this. It's fantastic that capacity is going up to 50%. 50% is not what you build your whole restaurant model on."

Officials with the trade group Hospitality Minnesota say more than 50 restaurants in the state, primarily in the metro, have closed due to the pandemic.

President and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota Liz Rammer says now it's up to owners to make sure they're putting their best foot forward so people show up.

"I think as much as anything, to continue to be able to demonstrate all the wonderful protocols in place for that safe dining experience, and to have customers feel comfortable and confident to come inside as the weather changes," Rammer tells News Talk 830 WCCO. "This is going to be critical to them being able to have success, and honestly survive through whenever we're going to see light at the end of the tunnel from this pandemic."

The Minnesota Department of Health updated it's guidance for restaurants and bars.