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'It's Disappointing': Town Hall Brewery Temporarily Closes Amid COVID Surge, Mandates

Originally published Jan. 16, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –- Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis will be temporarily shutting its doors to staff and customers for at least the next two weeks, beginning Sunday.

Pete Rifakes, who opened Town Hall nearly 25 years ago, says the closure was made for business purposes. January is his slowest month, and the surge in COVID-19 cases is putting people at risk.

"A lot of other factors make it easy to say hey, let's sit back, take a pause," Rifakes said.

One such factor is the city of Minneapolis' decision to mandate all bars and restaurants to ensure all customers are vaccinated against COVID-19.

"I think [the city] made some hard decisions in trying to slow this thing down," he said. "It certainly played a role in it. I see it as affecting people coming in here and visiting us. I see it affecting our service, I see putting another layer of expectations on our servers."

Town Hall Brewery
(credit: CBS)

Rifakes says he's hopeful to reopen sometime in February. In the meantime, he says he hopes to help staff looking to continue working pick up shifts at his other locations.

"This is my family. The people that work here, some of them that were managers here have worked here for 20 years. And I don't want to let them down," he said. "I have friends that are customers that have been coming her for 20 years, and I enjoy what I do. So I think it's gonna get back to normal ... everything's gonna work out."

Reopening will be dependent on dropping case numbers, as well as the possible return of students to the University of Minnesota campus.

In the meantime, the other Town Hall locations will remain open, Rifakes says.

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