As Minnesota restaurants and bars prepare to open for limited services Monday, June 1, the city of Fergus Falls is supporting its local businesses with nearly-free services.

Per Governor Tim Walz, Minnesota restaurants, bars, breweries, salons and other close-contact businesses will be able to re-open Monday, June 1 within guidelines. Those guidelines for eateries include service at 50% capacity and limited to outdoor service only, which puts any eatery without or with limited outdoor seating at a disadvantage.

The city of Fergus Falls is helping out its local restaurants and bars by offering picnic tables and barriers for just $1.

"The City of Fergus Falls' Public Works Department is offering to deliver metal picnic tables for restaurants and bars to use as outdoor seating, as well as temporary barriers to aid in the safe delineation of outdoor space," reads a Facebook post from Greater Fergus Falls. Interested businesses must apply by noon on Tuesday, May 27 to reserve tables and barricades.

The metal picnic tables can be used for adding or creating outdoor patio space; they must be spaced 6 feet apart and sanitized between use. The barriers can be used for creating safe delineation of outdoor space in conjunction with the State of MN building code. According to Lynn Olson, Assistant to Administrator for Fergus Falls, the $1 fee was part of a lease document drafted by the city attorney to offer complimentary service to local dine-in businesses for a nominal charge.

Since Gov. Walz announced his plans for Minnesota restaurants and bars re-opening, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis has been working with local dine-in eateries to help expand their outdoor seating options. Sauk Rapids city council is expected to meet Tuesday night May 26 to discuss and approve loosening outdoor seating restrictions, with Waite Park and Sartell city councils expected to do the same Wednesday evening May 27.

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