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Our Patio Will Not Be Open on June 1st

a person standing in front of a window

"While repeating his awareness of the financial hardship faced by the industry (restaurants), which has experienced numerous closures, with some closing for good, Walz pivoted to his duty to support both economic activity and public safety. 'The problem we got right now is we are peaking with this (outbreak).'"
Governor Walz, West Central Tribune 

Dear Birchwood friends + family,

I hope you are all safe and doing as well as any of us can be. Thank you so much for your ongoing CSR  (Community Supported Restaurant) share purchases, food and grocery orders and notes and posts of ongoing love and support — all of it makes a difference!  This is the first Memorial Day we have been closed in 16 years.  These past 10 weeks have been an exhausting, emotional, adrenaline fueled, roller coaster ride and now we are looking to level off and settle in for a more safe and predictable journey.  Though our future is unclear, we will keep putting one foot in front of the other.  As our favorite giant, Rubeus Hagrid, says in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; "What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does." ❤️

This past week our state has purchased a former refrigerated produce warehouse for respectful body storage, seen our highest number of COVID19 cases to date and yet many restaurants are pushing against the June 1st patio only restrictions to demand that their dining rooms, at lower capacity, be allowed to open. Believe me, there is nothing I want more than for it to be safe to open —our future looks dire and if the magic federal-aide-specific-to-restaurants-fairy doesn't come soon, the choice to open or not many not be mine to make. Socially distanced patio dining with reservations for contact tracing sounds potentially and possibly safe, but it isn't an option for us all. Our patio borders the public sidewalk. How is that safe or fair to our neighbors? There is no finish line to this virus yet in sight.

 Every day more restaurants are closing for good. No one has any answers and the fear, the loss of control and the divisiveness this situation is creating amongst our restaurant community breaks my heart. As safe, as sanitary and as cautionary as I know we can be, the fact is I'm scared; all it takes is one person. I appreciate our Governor's caution. Every restaurant owner has to make their own decision and I recognize the privilege I have to take this stand. Before COVID19 we had just come off our best year ever and we were well positioned to grow in a new partnership with our 14,000 farmer friends of Minnesota Farmer's Union. Post COVID19 our banker held our hand through the massive maze of paperwork and we were fortunate to secure PPP loan funds which have kept us afloat.  

Despite the confusion and lack of clarity surrounding the rules, with hope we endeavored our best to use our PPP funds as a bridge but to what or to where we weren't quite sure. Now, the end of that eight week bridge is fast approaching and all we see is an abyss below.  No, we will not be opening our patio on June 1st. We'll stick to kickin' it curbside and contact-less delivery until we feel it's safe for our employees and our community to open.

With Love + Gratitude,
Tracy + the Birchwood Curbside Crew