Moorhead businesses happy with easing of COVID-19 restrictions

Most Minnesota pandemic rules to go away by May 28, mask rule to expire by July 1.

Sonya Donahue, general manager of the Speak Easy Restaurant in Moorhead, said she is looking forward to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions for Minnesota businesses. David Samson / The Forum

MOORHEAD — When Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday, May 6, outlined a timeline for easing nearly all COVID-19 restrictions by May 28 , the announcement got a happy thumbs up from several restaurants in Moorhead.

"That's huge," said Sonya Donahue, general manager of the Speak Easy Restaurant in south Moorhead.

"It's going to be a nice release, to let it go, to get back to normal. But, we all have to worry about everybody's safety," said Donahue, adding that most employees at the restaurant have been vaccinated and that she planned to get her second shot next week.

Walz's announcement Thursday noted that starting Friday, May 7, many outdoor restrictions would be lifted across the state, and beginning May 28, remaining capacity and distancing limits will come to an end.

The statewide masking requirement is to end by July 1 at the latest.


While Donahue said Walz's announcement was good news, she said it is important to be mindful of why Minnesota imposed restrictions in the first place.

"We don't want it again," Donahue said, referring to government restrictions on businesses.

Donahue's thoughts were echoed by Baylee Engquist, server and bartender as well as media coordinator for Legends Sports Bar & Grill in Moorhead

"The last year has been pretty tough, not only on us but other people in the industry as well," Engquist said.

"We've always been thankful to have our doors open, even with restrictions, and we've understood why there were restrictions. It's not something we were always thrilled about, but it was something that we came to embrace," said Engquist. "We wanted to make sure the community stayed safe, but also just being able to serve the community is what kind of helped get us through that."

Knowing they soon won't have to turn people away due to capacity limits is a good feeling, Engquist said.

Teeya Doppler and Isabelle Williams work at Legends Sports Bar & Grill in south Moorhead on Thursday, May 6, 2021. David Samson / The Forum


She added that Legends recently opened another location in Moorhead called Murphy's Pub and it is also opening a new restaurant at the Rose Creek Golf Course in Fargo called Legends Sports Bar & Grill at Rose Creek.

"And they're hiring," Engquist said, referring to the new locations.

Liz Rammer, president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, issued a written statement Thursday lauding Walz's announcement.

"Over the past 60 weeks hospitality operators and workers have done everything that’s been asked of them and sacrificed much to keep their fellow Minnesotans safe," Rammer wrote.

"With today’s welcome announcement, brighter days are ahead as our citizens and communities can come back together to discover what they’ve been craving for — connectedness and hospitality," Rammer said. "We appreciate the on-going partnership we’ve forged with state officials as we have all worked to navigate the impact of the pandemic. "

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at
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