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Restaurants brace for colder temperatures approaching

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota restaurants have had to get creative to survive the pandemic. Takeout only wasn't doing the trick, so the governor allowed seating to be outdoors only at first, before eventually allowing indoor dining.

The city of Rochester allowed businesses to create their own patio spaces on sidewalks and block off parking spaces downtown if they didn't have a patio.

Canadian Honker owner Joe Powers said business lately has been doing well. He attributes it not only to the nice weather and ability to eat outdoors, but also that consumer confidence about eating indoors seems to be rising.

"We've had a beautiful summer," Powers said. "This is one of the most beautiful summers in I don't know how long, but [business has] really picked up lately."

However, with cold temperatures inevitably coming, businesses realize that patio space will soon be unusable.

"It's going to be tough. We're in the business of finding new and creative ways to get as much seating as we can," said Newt's Manager Cole Kundert. "I feel like patio seating is more based on weather, but I could see it being shut down soon. I mean, it's Minnesota you have to anticipate the winter is coming."

Which leaves restaurants hoping consumer confidence continues to grow as they aim to keep customers safe with the pandemic still going on.

"Honestly, our industry has gotten really creative with how we've handled COVID-19. And from a sanitation standpoint, in our operation, you should feel safe coming here," Powers said.

Both Powers and Kundert said they're hoping Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz will turn the dial up to allow 75% indoor capacity. They're both unclear when or if that will happen.

"Sooner or later, we're all going to have to get back to living too," Powers said.

Zach Fuller

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