ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Restaurants and bars in Rochester continue to struggle through the pandemic. With warmer, sunnier days ahead, the current 11 p.m. cut-off presents a unique challenge to managers and staff.
"The curfew kind of sucks for everybody right now, you know, like, everyone wants to stay out later and stuff like that. And we've noticed that people are coming out later now compared to earlier, so it sucks for, like, the customers and stuff," said a bartender at The Tap House Jacob Garvey.
Several bars and restaurants in Rochester have closed their doors for good since COVID-19 struck in March of 2020, many of which were very popular venues downtown. With another potential surge in cases, owners worry another round of restrictions may be on the horizon.
"Are we pondering whether or not that will happen? Of course we are. If we roll back restrictions in our three restaurants here in Rochester, it will be a significant impact as to whether or not we'll be able to run these restaurants," said Terza manager Henry Clarin. Clarin also manages two other restaurants in Rochester.
Restaurants in Minnesota are permitted up to 75 percent capacity under current state guidance and must be closed at or before 11 p.m. However, there is increasing confidence from the public that these places can stay open while keeping workers and guests safe in the process.
"The best way that we get guests to continue to come into our doors is through our sanitation practices. We are very strict with our staff when it comes to hand sanitation, table sanitation, and food preparation, six-foot social distancing in all of our restaurants," Clarin added.
In spite of the curfew and continued restrictions, managers were very optimistic about what's to come in the summer months.
"We feel bad telling people 'hey, we're closing down right now' but, it's, I don't know. I think once the summer, once it gets warmer, like, the consistency you know, then I definitely think it [the curfew] should be pushed back to 12 or at least 1 or something like that," Garvey said.