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Video: Northland restaurants, bars prepare for four week closure

Nov 21, 2020 06:16AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

By Emily Ness of WDIO-TV - November 20, 2020

Beginning at 11:59pm Friday night, indoor dining at Minnesota restaurants and bars will be closed for four weeks. This comes with Governor Tim Walz’s latest set of restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Ahead of the closure, Northland restaurants and bars worked to safely make the most of the limited time they had left leading up to their last call Friday.

“We had a decent lunch today, we’ll be busy tonight. I think the last hoorah, so to speak, should be good and then looking forward to seeing everybody back here in a month or so,” Russ Smith, the general manager at the Crooked Pint said.

According to Smith, he and his team predicted Friday’s four week closure could be a possibility, unlike the closure back in March. Therefore, they were able to better prepare for it.

“This is a lot less of a kick to the head than the last one was. You know, the last time around, you kind of had to figure it out every single day all over again,” Smith said.

In the coming days, Smith hopes to keep as many of his employees working as possible by honoring the bar's daily specials for take-out and by continuing their gift card specials leading into the holidays.

“There’s no right answer on this. I am just doing the best that I can, you know, right by the employees that I have because I want them all to come back because we will re-open again and I want them back,” Smith said.

Brothers, Solomon and Stephan Witherspoon – who are in the process of opening up Doc Witherspoon’s Soul Food Kitchen in Lincoln Park– say they will also be turning to take-out during the closure.

“Our doors will be shut, but our kitchen will be open,” Solomon Witherspoon said. “It’s a perfect opportunity where people can stay home safe, they can social distance and we’ll bring you the food or meet us right outside of the door, so it’s a true blessing.”

With Thanksgiving just days away, the brothers plan to extend their take-out efforts through a pie drive that will take place on Wednesday.

“People love their sweet potato pie so we’ll be doing our little sweet potato pie drive,” Solomon Witherspoon said. “We’re just going to keep rolling, go by the rules and give folks some good food.”

Both the Crooked Pint and Doc Witherspoon’s Soul Food Kitchen hope the closure won’t last longer than four weeks, but are hopeful that it will make a difference in keeping people healthy and saving lives.

“I'm hoping that this is something that's going to save a life or two out there just to keep people safe and keep them away from one another in a space that is potentially hazardous,” Smith said.

“We want everybody to stay healthy and safe. That’s the important thing to us right now,” Stephan Witherspoon said.

To watch the original report and see related stories, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.

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