MOORHEAD, Minn.— Minnesota restaurants and bars are scrambling, getting ready for people to "dine-in" for the first time in nearly two months. Starting on Monday, Governor Walz approved turning the Covid-19 risk dial down in the state which means restaurants can reopen for indoor dining with 50% capacity.
After two months of only doing take out, owner of Snap Dragon Asian Buffet in Moorhead, David Shih, says being able to serve customers indoors once again is a huge relief.
"The first shut down, we were pretty okay, around breaking even." said Shih, "This shut down we lost money. The last two months, when he extended it, I knew that was going to a blow and in the end there's nothing else you could do. We just need to tough it out."
David's restaurant had 13 employees before the shut down last march, now just eight. "We're just trying to get our staff back, setting up the schedule for them.
But he's not quite confident enough to hire new employees just yet. "First week, or so I'm just going to go with the flow and see how it goes and then, after the week or so, then ill make judgment calls. And if we need more folks, or if people willing to pick up more hours, then that's what we'll do."
Blocks to the south on 8th street, managers at Legend's Sports Bar and Grill are scrambling making sure they have the staff and seating ready for Monday too.
Baylee Engquist, server and bartender, says they're cleaning and, "putting tables back where they were, chairs back where they were."
Bucking the trend most restaurants are seeing, Legend's actually grew staff during the pandemic from about 30 employees to upwards of 40 to keep up with take out demand from a supportive community. With customers coming back, they're hoping to staff up even more.
"We are, we are hiring, so we're taking applications," Engquist.
Job sites, like Indeed and Glassdoor show hundreds of restaurant job openings across Minnesota.