ST PAUL, Minn. — Tables and chairs fill Leech Street as hosts greet patrons outside of Hope Breakfast Bar.
Brian Ingram is the owner. The business – with limited indoor seating – has been operating with outdoor street seating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It’s been a life changer for us, it's probably generating more than half-a-million in sales for us since we've been allowed to have it open," says Ingram.
Back in March, Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency. The order has since been updated several times – allowing restaurants and bars to reopen indoor seating up to 50% capacity with a maximum of 250 people indoors or outdoors. Starting September 22nd, St. Paul mayor, Melvin Carter, extended a city-wide order, first issued in late May, allowing restaurants and businesses to continue operating in public spaces for the next 40 days.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for businesses, especially restaurants," says Nicolle Goodman, director of City of St. Paul Planning and Economic Development.
The new order allows restaurants to continue to operate on streets, sidewalks and parking lots throughout the winter, with a few exceptions.
"This extension specifies that furniture and property needs to be removed immediately if the city receives two to three inches of snow or a snow emergency,” says Goodman.
Ingram says he's now thinking ahead for the cold, winter months. “We have patio heaters now that we will put them out, we also have blankets ordered," says Ingram.
While Ingram says he's one of the lucky few business owners. "I have tons of friends in the restaurant business, who don't have options like this," Ingram says.
He's now hoping to permanently close down this road. Potentially turning it into a green space for nearby businesses all-year round. “Roads like this that are 50-feet long, and really don't mean a lot to the average person," says Ingram.
Businesses should contact Public Works at (651) 266-6151 or PW-ROWpermits@ci.stpaul.mn.us for more information.