Executive Order Has Business Owners, Workers In Limbo
ST. CLOUD -- Businesses all across the state are adjusting to the governor's executive order to shut their doors, which officially went into effect at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.
Patty Gaetz from Anton's Restaurant in Waite Park. She says they've had to close before in the spring due to flooding, but this is different.
When we flood you get to walk in the door and turn the lights on and move furniture around and get ready for when the river crests. This is just so different, our dining room is dark, the bar is silent.
She says the uncertainty of what will happen in the future is creating a lot of anxiety in the food and beverage industry.
Restaurants run on shockingly thin margins every day, so just having a bad week is detrimental, but not being able to know the longevity of this pandemic it's frightening.
Like dozens of other local restaurants, Anton's is offering take out and food delivery. Gaetz says just the owners and a couple of chefs are working right now with the rest of the stay laid off.
While this is a difficult time, Gaetz says she supports the governor's decision calling it "responsible and necessary".
Republican Senator Andrew Mathews of Princeton seems less certain about the governor's executive order.
I understand Governor Walz wants to reduce the spread of coronavirus, and I appreciate that end goal. Until this point, the measures that Governor Walz has taken have just affected the public sector. Monday, it reached into the private sector, hitting the families employed at small businesses all over the district. Unilateral decisions rule out options for businesses and owners to make satisfactory adjustments on their own. The Legislature should have bipartisan input into executive decisions when they impact the lives of so many people. If this is limited to just ten days, perhaps the majority of small businesses could hang on and survive. If this drags on for weeks or months, I wonder if these actions will cause lasting damage.
Besides bars and restaurants, other businesses like movie theaters, bowling alleys, and fitness centers have also been ordered to shut down through 5:00 p.m. next Friday, March 27th. We've also learned from the Minnesota Board of Cosmetology that all hair salons and other spa-like businesses are included in the governor's executive order.