Caledonia Restaurant hanging on during Minnesota’s extended COVID-19 mandate

"Good Times" owner says the Governor's restrictions have nearly killed the restaurant industry

CALEDONIA, Min. (WKBT)- A Houston County restaurant owner is doing all he can to hang on, after Minnesota Governor Tim Walz extended his order prohibiting indoor dining. 

If memories paid the bills, the owner of “Good Times” restaurant and bar would be set for life. Right now, Eric Lee would settle for just enough revenue to survive. “Over the last year we’ve suffered well over $300,000 in lost income.”

The Caledonia bar owner ikeep customers out.  Forced to close his bar and dining room again, after Minnesota Governor Tim Walz extended his pandemic order prohibitinindoor service through the holiday season. 

“I want to be very candid. I’ve heard people say you keep moving the goal posts about what we’re supposed to do. My response to that is that game continues to change, and it’s no game.  It’s a virus that takes lives.” , said Walz during a press conference this week.

More than 150 Minnesota businesses have banned together, vowing to open their doors to customers in defiance of the mandate. “It isn’t that bars and restaurants don’t care. We do care about keeping people safe. He just won’t let us have any say on how we do it.”  

Lee planned to open Friday until he says got a call from the Attorney General’s office. The AG has promised to hold violators accountable with fines and revoked licenses. risk Lee can’t afford to take.” I’s our employees we worry about. A lot of them are mothers. It’s Christmas time and he’s putting the chokehold on everyone.” 

So this owner will try to scrape by, serving take-out with shorter hours and a smaller staff. Holding on, for the good times he hopes are ahead. 

Governor Walz is allowing restaurants and bars to serve outdoors with limited capacity. Lee says considering its December, that’s not really an option.