About Too Local To Fail

Too Local To Fail is a resource for business owners and employees in the MSP region, as well as the entire state of Minnesota. We serve as a hub for information including re-opening tools, business best practices and government guidance and resources. We are also advocating for sensible policies and solutions that will support business that are open, re-opening or experiencing mandatory closures through our small business coalition. To sign on to this effort, #TooLocalToFail, click here.

Too Local To Fail Platform For Building Community and Innovation

Too Local To Fail has a new interactive platform designed to shape the future of the Minneapolis-St. Paul economy. Business leaders, employees and stakeholders can share their ideas about re-opening the economy and a return to work.

To access the new interactive tool, click here. Sign up, become a user, and start voting on ideas or contribute your own.

Governor Walz issues updated emergency regulations

To address the explosive growth of COVID-19 cases statewide, Governor Walz issued Emergency Order 20-96.

The Governor acknowledged operators of food businesses have stepped up to the challenge and have responded to the pandemic over the last several months. Operators have worked to make their businesses safer places to be. Because of their efforts, and additional protections provided in Executive Order 20-96, Minnesotans can continue to confidently support their local businesses, recognizing their importance to our community and the economy.

State guidance

Guidance on the updated regulations can be found in the Industry Guidance for Safely Reopening: Restaurants and Bars (PDF).

If a business serves food and beverages and offers recreational entertainment, the business must choose to follow one of the following set of guidelines (see highlights of both sets of guidelines below):

Bars and restaurants: Serve food and beverages following the guidelines for on-site consumption of food and beverages
Recreational entertainment venues: Food and beverage consumption must end at 10 p.m. The venue may stay open for their normal business hours.

Highlights of Executive Order 20-96:

Bars and restaurants

• Businesses must be closed to on-site consumption of food or beverages between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
• Take-out, delivery, drive-up, and other sales for offsite consumption may continue through regular business hours.
• Indoor occupant capacity is limited to no more than 50%, up to 150 people maximum.
• If outdoor seating is offered, the combined total occupancy of all indoor and outdoor spaces is limited to 150 people.
• Seating and service at bars and counters is no longer allowed.
• If a bar or restaurant only has counter service, then ordering at the counter is allowed. Counter service only business generally do not have wait staff. Examples may include breweries and fast casual businesses.
• Patrons must return to their tables after placing their order.
• In businesses that have only counter service, physical distancing and queuing methods must be used to control congestion in lines and service areas.
• All patrons must be seated at tables at all times. Exceptions include when patrons are being seated, using the restroom, and ordering at an establishment that does not offer table service.
• Bar games like pool, darts, arcade games, beanbags or other games that require participants to leave their seats are not permitted.
• “Lawful gambling” as defined in Minnesota Statutes 2019, 349.12, is allowed.
• Customers in queuing areas (for example, to purchase pull tabs) must maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet from other customers. Queuing areas must be marked to provide for physical distancing. Some examples are using floor markings, lane lines, and/or marking of adjacent areas where customers may be waiting for service.

Private events at bars and restaurants

A bar or restaurant offering an exclusive and physically separated space (such as a ballroom or other private room) for a private event, must follow the requirements for capacity, dancing, and other activities found in the Gathering Requirements for Celebrations and Significant Life Events (PDF).

The event must have an event-specific COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.

In general, this means that restaurants and bars providing venue space for private events must limit capacity in the space to 25% of normal occupancy, in addition to the following:

• Food or beverages may not be consumed on-site between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.
• Effective November 27, attendance at these private events must not exceed 50 people.
• Effective December 11, attendance at these private events must not exceed 25 people.

This guidance provides greater flexibility to these events. For example, under the Gathering Requirements for Celebrations and Significant Life Events, patrons are not required to remain seated at all times, provided that social distancing is maintained, capacity is decreased to protect the safety of workers and patrons, and other restrictions are implemented.

If a restaurant or bar hosts a private event, the combined total of the event attendees and other patrons of the restaurant and bar still must not exceed the maximum restaurant capacity as allowed in EO 20-96

Recreational entertainment venues: Guidelines for indoor and outdoor venues such as theaters, museums, bowling alleys, arcades, amusement parks, mini golf, racetracks, etc.

Even though food and beverage service must end at 10:00 p.m., the venue may stay open until their normal closing time.

• Example: a movie theater with a 9:30 p.m. showing must close their concession stand at 10:00 p.m., but patrons may finish watching their movie.
• Example: a bowling alley must close their kitchen and bar at 10:00 p.m., but customers may play past that time.

Businesses where games and food are both equally prominent as part of their business model need to decide to operate under the restaurant/bar guidance or the entertainment venue guidance. There are implications to capacity and operations depending on the model they choose.

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CARES Act - SBA Loans

$300 billion have been made available to small-businesses via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) through the recent stimulus package. Recent changes have been made specifically to the PPP program as a result of recent legislation. To learn more about these modifications click here.

As part of our “Too Local To Fail” effort, we want to help Minnesota small businesses be ready to apply for these dollars. Information about the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and other resources can be found here.