May 10, 2021 - News

Twin Cities come back to life as pandemic restrictions ease

Fans walk outside the entrance to Target Field

People are back out and about! Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Now that Gov. Tim Walz has laid out a plan for a full re-opening, businesses across the Twin Cities are following suit.

  • But don't expect life to immediately return to normal on May 28, when all business and gathering restrictions are lifted.

State of play: Re-opening takes time for restaurants, music venues and sporting events. And some business owners say they wish Walz would have given them more lead time to get ready.

Restaurants: The good news is that they will be unfettered by restrictions on May 28, but the bad news is that many are having a hard time finding enough workers.

  • With staffing shortages, Northbound Smokehouse can't open for lunch and Saint Dinette is not open on Mondays and Tuesdays, the two restaurants said on Twitter.
  • Look for some exciting newcomers that opened recently, including Jorge Guzmán's Petite León in Kingfield and Ann Kim's Sooki & Mimi in Uptown. Daniel del Prado opened two new spots: Sanjusan in Minneapolis and Josefina in Wayzata.
  • The Butcher's Tale, from the owners of Crave restaurants, is opening in the former Butcher & The Boar spot on Hennepin Avenue on Wednesday.

Office buildings: Companies are finally bringing workers back to the office. Just last week, 23.3% of downtown Minneapolis employees went into the office. That's up from about 15% over the last several months, according to the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

Sports: The Twins can now hold up to 40,000 people at Target Field and will gradually up their capacity. The Wild will have 4,500 fans for a while and could go as high as 20,000 if they stay alive in the playoffs.

  • The July 22-24 3M Open in Blaine will no longer have to limit its attendance to 10,000 and can fill up its pricey VIP tents.

Concerts: Music venues were happy to see the restrictions lifted, but First Avenue GM Nate Kranz told the Star Tribune that he wishes the announcement came earlier because the company's venues need time to staff up and book shows.

  • For the rest of the summer, First Avenue will focus on booking local and regional acts and then in September the touring acts will be back.

Theater: It takes a long time to ramp up to put on a play or musical, so theaters don't have shows booked until the fall.

  • Hennepin Theater Trust brings back Broadway shows in October and the Guthrie starts A Christmas Carol in November.
  • In the meantime, Hennepin Theater Trust is trying to book bands for this summer in hopes that it will make sense for some touring acts to add a Minneapolis stop, said spokesman Dale Stark.

Bottom line: The Twin Cities is coming back to life, but slowly.


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