City working on bar, restaurant guidelines for June 1 outdoor dining

The City of Winona is reviewing and considering revisions to ordinances, licenses and guidelines in order to best support bars and restaurants and other businesses, following the state’s announcement that those businesses can open for outdoor/patio dining starting June 1.

Guidelines and any proposed changes will be brought to the Winona City Council at its next meeting on Monday, June 1. In the meantime, restaurants are asked to reach out to the Minnesota Department of Health and to review the state’s COVID-19 information portal, at mn.gov/covid19, for updated advice and guidelines.

Bars and restaurants will be able to use any outdoor space their business owns, with tables needing to be at least six feet apart and holding no more than four people (or six as part of a family unit). Reservations will be required, and no more than 50 people will be allowed to be seated at any one time. Visitors will be urged to wear masks; employees will be required to wear masks.

The state has asked local governments to work with bars and restaurants on creative uses of any adjacent public outdoor spaces like sidewalks and streets. Because this ruling was just issued, the city does not yet have formal recommendations but will communicate them as soon as they are ready.

Bars and restaurants meanwhile can continue providing takeout and delivery service.

Other changes and updates to the state’s StaySafeMN order Wednesday included:

  • Salons and barbershops can open starting June 1, operating at 25 percent capacity as determined by building fire code, with employees and customers wearing masks
  • Individual youth sports can resume, as long as they follow state health department guidelines; no team sports are yet allowed
  • Campgrounds and charter boats can open, also by following state guidelines
  • Gyms remain closed
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited

The Winona Fire Department is actively providing guidance and walkthroughs for businesses on customer capacity, flow, and layout; contact the department at 507-457-8266.

The city continues to plan for the safe, slow, and phase reopening of city facilities. Currently, the StayStafeMN order does not allow most city facilities to open. Facilities that are widely open to the public, including but not limited to the Winona Public Library, East End Rec, and Lake Lodge, remain closed for now. The Parks and Recreation department and library will begin offering some services soon. Many departments continue to offer virtual services; visit their websites and Facebook pages for details.

Parks, outdoor spaces and trails remain open to the public. All essential services — police, fire, water, wastewater and others — continue to operate as usual, and all city departments continue to conduct regular business remotely. 

Visit cityofwinona.com and facebook.com/cityofwinonacovid19 for regular updates on the city’s response to COVID-19, including contact info for city staff and updates on services.