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Coronavirus In Minnesota: California Offers Glimpse Of What Re-Opened Restaurants Could Look Like

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's unclear if businesses will reopen by the end of Minnesota's stay-at-home order on May 4.

But when they do open, Gov. Tim Walz says things will likely look a little different.

Chad Nelson, general manager of Lord Fletcher's in Spring Park, says he hopes to reopen soon, but has questions about what the rules will be.

"Who determines what normalcy looks like? Who polices the social distancing?" Nelson said.

READ MORE: Salon, Barber Shop Owners Struggle Through 'Frustrating' Pause

Steve Grove, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, says the key message for now is to stay at home, but that will have to change.

"At some point we won't be staying at home, and people will be going back to work in a new environment," Grove said.

While Minnesota hasn't made any decisions, plans in California can provide some insight into what it could look like when places like restaurants reopen.

READ MORE: 23 People Charged For Violating Stay-At-Home Order

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says there could be half the number of usual tables so people can spread out; customers and wait staff will wear masks and possibly gloves; temperatures would be taken at the door; and menus are disposable.

Nelson says operating at half capacity won't cut it.

"Restaurants don't have huge margins to begin with, they're very thin," Nelson said. "For our rent, we have to do astronomical numbers."

And if the return to "normal life" in Minnesota turns out to be anything but, Nelson says many could suffer.

"The restaurant industry is like a giant family, you know. It pains us to see our staff not have hours or work, it just kills us," Nelson said. "It's devastating, but some aren't going to open up again."

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