ST. CLOUD -- At 10:00 p.m. Friday, all bars and restaurants in Minnesota will be required to close for sit-down service. But, there has been a small number of hospitality businesses in the area that have already voluntarily gone to just take and out delivery earlier this month.

Pantown Brewing Company co-owner Marty Czech says they decided to keep their taproom closed after having COVID-19 cases among the staff.

We went through this summer, I think, very strictly following the protocols that we'd been given and despite all of that we had some cases of COVID run through our taproom early this month.  With the holidays coming up and people traveling we didn't want to keep putting our staff at risk.

Czech says initially they thought they would go week to week on keeping their taproom closed, but thought it would be closed at least through the holidays.

Meanwhile, Bad Habit Brewing Company in St. Joseph also closed their taproom already before last weekend. Co-owner Aaron Rieland says they made that decision based on the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Stearns county and because members of the staff were personally being impacted by the virus.

We kind of figured that there was a shutdown on the horizon again, so we just preemptively decided to close a week early and keep our employees home and safe, and do the same for our customers.

Bad Habit is now offering contactless off-sale pickup. Rieland says you can order your beer online and pay for it ahead of time and then your beer will be brought out to your vehicle and set in your backseat or trunk.

Jule's Bistro also closed their dining room earlier this month. Owner Donella Westphal says

"with COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Minnesota at an all-time high, we are pressing the pause button once again. At this time, we have no confirmed cases of COVID on our team. But the virus is clearly here in our community, running rampant, and we prefer to proactively choose a path that prioritizes the health and safety of our staff, guests and community."

The governor's executive order keeping bars and restaurants closed for sit down service runs at least through Friday, December 18th.

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