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'We Will Figure It Out': Elation And Anxiety As Small Business Owners Prepare For Reopening

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- On Monday, Minnesota's stay-at-home order will be replaced with "Stay Safe MN."

This next phase turns the dials, allowing more businesses to reopen, and more people to gather.

Gov. Tim Walz says starting Monday, Minnesotans can gather in groups of 10 or less with masks and social distancing.

And non-essential businesses, like retail stores and malls, can reopen at half capacity as long as they have a safety plan.

Tom Johnson, owner of A. Johnson and Sons Florist on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, is all for it.

"I think it's a great idea because I think we're ready to open safely," Johnson said.

But Dan Marshall, who owns Mischief Toy Store on Grand Avenue, doesn't think Monday is realistic for reopening

"It would be nice to get back open, but at the same time I'm not sure even our customers are ready to come running back in just yet," Marshall said. "A lot of our distributors and vendors are still offline. Our inventory is kind of really out of whack right now. The store itself is a mess, and we're still waiting on like a sneeze guard to put up on our register to, you know, protect our customers and ourselves."

Many business owners will need to wait longer to reopen. Bars, restaurants, salons and barbershops won't reopen until June 1, at which time the governor says we'll have increased testing, tracing and isolating the virus in Minnesota.

Restaurateur Peter Kenefick who owns Dixie's on Grand, Saji-Ya and Emmett's Public House in St. Paul, says he's "very anxious" to reopen.

"I just think that we're going to lose so many wonderful businesses on Grand," Kenefick said. "At least outside, why wouldn't we start outside and see how that works?"

As parts of our main streets begin to reopen, those who can't hope they'll make it to the other side.

"At some point we have to figure out how do we try to go forward," Kenefick said. "If we get a chance to operate safely, we will figure it out."

The governor warns if the virus spreads out of control, things will have to close again.

Details for plans to reopen bars and restaurants and salons on June 1 will be announced by next Wednesday.

Click here for a full list of what will reopen Monday.

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