Local Businesses Express The Problems They Face Due to COVID-19 Restrictions
Laurentian Chamber of Commerce Board Member Dave Lislegard arranged for Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove to come to Eggy’s Red Garter Lounge in Eveleth to hear how the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted their businesses. Chamber members John Snidarich of the Village Inn, Marci Knight of American Bank and Jonathan Hoel of Miners National Bank were among several business owners who spoke at the meeting.
Business owners told Commission Grove that the 50% capacity limit on indoor dining and the 6 person at a table limit were extremely hard on restaurants and bars. They talked of making thousands of dollars of investments in cleaning, one time use menus other adjustments in their operations to provide a safe environment for patrons. Eveleth Police Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Koivunen talked about the lockdown initially coming when Eveleth had zero cases of COVID-19 and restritions continuing through the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of July, the summer season and Labor Day. Those in the hospitality business explained to Commissioner Grove that several of them might not survive if these restrictions are not eased before the Christmas and Holiday Season.
Margie Koivunen of Margie’s Roosevelt Bar told the crowd, “We’ve been told many many times before we are the backbone of our communities. Well I think you can see we’ve fallen through the cracks. And we want to know how Governor Walz is going to make us whole again.” She listed a number of times she called the governor and the state’s departments overseeing the various relief programs without ever getting a response. Margie summed up the mood of many local bars and restaurants when she said that her business has spent years donating to charities, hosting benefits and helping to create community. That is what she wants to do. That is what she is good at. She will keep her patrons safe. She just wants the state to let her do what she does best.
WDIO’s Renee Passal covered the meeting. Watch her report by clicking here.