The Long Lake City Council met virtually on Tuesday, June 2 ,to discuss special event permits for temporary outdoor spaces for businesses as well as a direction for the Nelson Lakeside Park Swimming Beach.

According to City Clerk Jeanette Moeller, the resolution is needed as a way for the city to allow temporary outdoor spaces for business, especially for restaurants, as Gov. Tim Walz is relaxing social distancing restrictions.

Small businesses and retailers will be allowed to open with a limited capacity and will have to have measures in place for social distancing for customers and employees. Bars and restaurants can start having customers indoors and outdoors at 50 percent capacity and are capped at 250 individuals starting June 10.

Barbershops and hair salons can also start operating at 50 percent capacity starting June 10. Employees must wear masks and protective equipment while with a customer. Pools will also operate at 50 percent capacity and outdoor entertainment is limited to 250 people. Indoor venues, movie theaters and fitness centers can open up at a 25 percent capacity.

The council voted unanimously to pass the resolution. This means Long Lake’s City Administrator Scott Weske can approve “regulatory flexibility” to local businesses, which allows staff to issue permits as soon as possible for temporary outdoor spaces or special event permits.

Moeller adds that while this resolution primarily came about for the local restaurants, other businesses are able to apply. The city council also approved to waive the application fee. Typically, a business would have to submit a land use application for planning and zoning approvals.

“Expansion of [outdoor patios] would typically require a land use application under normal circumstances, but a pandemic is not a normal circumstance,” Moeller said to the council.

This temporary authority is effective immediately and lasts until Oct. 31, 2020. Carbone’s Pizza and The Red Rooster are two local restaurants that applied early in order to be able to operate outside as soon as possible, Moeller added.

“We felt like using a special events permit was a really good mechanism to be able to allow us to set forth conditions that we identify to any permit approval and to be unique and specific to any sites that we’re working with,” she said.

The council then approved to open Nelson Lakeside Park Swimming Beach. The playgrounds were previously opened and city staff has already seen people swimming at the beach. The next Long Lake City Council meeting is Tuesday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m.

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