“But still – I don’t know how to say it other than ‘pain’,” Horak told Herald on Friday, the last night until December that bars and restaurants across the city are open after. 11 p.m. is legal. “It’s financially painful, it’s emotional pain. “
As is the case with active coronavirus soaring in Grand Forks County and a local coronavirus risk gauge still locked in the ‘serious’ category, Mayor Brandon Bochenski ordered bars and restaurants serving liquor and foreign liquor stores to close early in the process. remainder of November. The 2020-19.4 emergency order temporarily modifies the city code to prevent businesses with a liquor trading license from being open past 11 p.m. from Saturday, November 7 to half-hour Tuesday , December 1st. Basically, it resembles a Bochenski released at the end of August, when multiple indicators COVID spiked to a record after that the whole district.
Horak said she understands the public health needs that drive the mayor’s decision, but is still worried about the impact of the shutdown on her business. She co-owns the Brick and Barley bar and restaurant, the 10th floor nightclub, and the O’Really Irish Pub – all of which are downtown staples. Clubs and pubs attract a lot of college students on weekend nights, and city leaders recorded a spike in August in COVID cases when UND students returned to school and in turn, the Grand Forks’ nightlife.
“This is another step to limit the opportunities for many different social groups in high exposure environments,” Bochenski was quoted in a newsletter released by the city shortly after he signed the order on Thursday. “Reducing opportunities like these will help slow the spread and reduce stress on our health care systems and schools. Both are very important to keeping our communities healthy and our economy growing.
The mayor encouraged residents of Grand Forks to sponsor the bars and restaurants in the area, which he said had assumed “a disproportionate share of the economic burden on the well-being of the community.”
At Brick and Barley, employees are looking at ways to promote the bar’s performance and third-party delivery options. At O’Really’s and Level 10, they can open earlier to accommodate the required closing times.
“There’s no way to see the future, but if we have to do this now,” Horak said, referring to the premature shutdown, “we hope we don’t have to do it once. again.”
Bochenski’s power to order an early closure stems from one declaration of emergency was first signed by his predecessor, Mike Brown, and refurbished every few months by Grand Forks City Council members. The mayor of the Grand Forks has far-reaching power under such a claim, but this is not true on the other side of the Red River.
In the East Grand Forks, city leaders allowed a similar declaration to expire on May 7. But, even if it still applies, a formal state of emergency will not grant Thi. Chief Steve Gander the temporary powers Bochenski enjoyed in the Grand Forks.
That is why Gander is supposed to follow the lawsuit with Bochenski, but in a way with no legal weight. He is believed to have ordered the bars and restaurants on the Eastside also to close at 11 p.m., but they have no legal obligation to do so.
Gander did not return many of Herald’s requests for comment on Thursday after Bochenski announced the Grand Forks order, or Friday ahead of the publication deadline.
However, at least one East Grand Forks bar will close soon. The Blue Moose will close at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, according to co-owner Patrick Boppre. It is usually open, at least during the COVID-19 pandemic, until midnight on those days and 10pm on week nights.
Boppre said he hopes to lose some of the business by closing an hour early two nights a week, but Blue Moose nonetheless sees a particularly large customer base after 11 p.m. He said he expected revenue to drop 5% or less.
“Any loss is not good,” Boppre said. “But it won’t make a big difference to us. … For us it was an easy decision based on just the number of cases and helping to keep the community as safe as possible. “
Justin LaRocque said he still decided if The Spud Jr., his relatively new East Grand Forks bar and restaurant, would close early. He said he isn’t sure how much revenue the business will lose when it closes at 11 o’clock, but, like Blue Moose, LaRocque’s restaurants usually open only after that time on weekend nights. The staff there are working to decide what they will do, LaRocque said on Friday morning.
“Saying no to business isn’t smart work,” he chuckled. “That’s where our struggles lie.”