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Boreal Community Media

Despite no cases of COVID-19, Cook County businesses worry about tourism impact

Apr 23, 2020 10:27AM ● By Editor
Sivertson Gallery in downtown Grand Marais.  Photo: KBJR-TV

By John Cardinale of KBJR-TV - April 22, 2020

Jan Sivertson has owned Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais for 40 years.

"Certainly I've never been shut like that," Sivertson said.

With businesses shut down across Minnesota Sivertson had to make some difficult decisions.

"Yeah I had to lay off everyone including myself for a little while," Sivertson said.

Layoffs are a serious problem right now across Cook County, as the unemployment rate has seen the highest jump more than anywhere in the state of Minnesota according to Jim Boyd, the executive director of thr Cook County Chamber of Commerce.

"29% of the workforce had applied for unemployment compensation through April 19th," Boyd said.

Out of 2,500 people in the county 893 people are now without jobs.

If stay at home orders continue businesses like Sivertsons may not survive, as 80% of revenue that businesses in Cook County take in depends on tourism.

"In the tourism business in Minnesota summer is your business we lose money all year round except for summer thats when you make enough to pay for summer excreta so losing summer would be a big deal," Severtson said.

Still, despite a painful month and a half business owners along the tip of Minnesota's north shore are optimistic.

"I'm still expecting to open up for summer and operate safely," Sivertson said.

Business owners in Cook County want to remind everyone you can still make purchases on their websites and in many cases buy gift cards online.

To watch a video version of this story and see other reporting, follow this link to the KBJR-TV website.

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