Since Minnesota’s stay at home order began in March, Winona’s restaurants have been limited to take out or delivery service only. While there have been reports that orders have been moving at a great pace, this week will see a step towards a return to normalcy, as outdoor dining will restart in many local haunts. Beginning June 1st, Governor Walz’s new directives will allow for noshing alfresco with numerous safeguards and restrictions.
What are restaurants without patios or outdoor space to do? Chris Rogers of the Winona Post reports that the City of Winona is looking into changes to zoning to allow these spots more access to public areas to set up tables and chairs for service.
Rogers writes, “State officials encouraged local governments to do just what Winona is considering: relax zoning rules on outdoor seating and allow bars and restaurants to use public sidewalks and streets.” He goes on to report that Winona’s Main Street Program is calling for, “closing off Third Street between Johnson and Franklin streets every Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Main Street Program Manager Ben Strand also asked that the northbound lanes of the 100 block of Walnut Street — which abuts NOSH Scratch Kitchen — and the 50 block of Lafayette — which abuts the Acoustic Cafe and Island City Brewing Company — also be closed. Other side streets crossing Third Street would remain open.”
The Main Street Program director Ben Strand says, “Community members will feel safer to spend time downtown if there is more space to practice social distancing and no traffic to worry about.” He goes on to add, “Our historic downtown district is a crucial pillar and economic contributor to our community, and it’s important for businesses to have opportunities like this to help them survive and recover from the challenges they have faced and will continue to face as a result of the pandemic.”
In the meantime, The Winona Chamber of Commerce has provided an updated food industry report, where one can find restaurant closures, take out and delivery options, and now outdoor dining locations. You can find the report here.
Read the full article on outdoor dining in public spaces in the Winona Post here
Read our Insider’s Blog about the wonderful patios in Winona here