There’s no denying that the pandemic has put a burden on everyone. From not being able to go out to our favorite spots to shutting the doors of businesses, it’s truly been a challenge from the start. In desperation, a few around the state have decided to defy the executive order given by Governor Tim Walz. One of these recently was Waconia’s own Egg-Cetera Café. They are now back under compliance, due to the intervention of the county sheriff’s department.
After the second shut down of restaurants in November, many businesses are struggling, even with aid coming in. The executive order allowed restaurants to continue processing takeout orders to make back some profits, but for many it was not enough to cover the costs of staff, products, and rent. As such, many establishments across the state announced they would reopen in defiance of the executive order, allowing indoor dining once again.
This move had severe consequences for any restaurant doing so. Fines over $20000, restraining order, license removal, and more from the Attorney General’s Office, Department of Health, Department of Labor and Industry, as well as local law enforcement, just to name a few. In other words, reopening was (and still is) an extreme risk in many ways for a business.
But for some, that risk was well worth it.
“It’s no secret that restaurant margins are thin,” said Cheryl Vargo, co-owner of Egg-Cetera Café, in a video interview by Republican Senator Dr. Scott Jensen, who did not run for re-election this year. “We learn how to work with that and we learn how to keep things going.”
“We can’t keep going on like this,” echoed Brian Vargo, co-owner of Egg-Cetera and Cheryl’s husband. “We have to open up.”
Cheryl and Brian, who did not give comment for the purposes of this article, purchased Egg-Cetera in 2004 and have been a fixture in Waconia ever since. Known for their good food and service, the initial shut down presented a challenge, as it did for many. Once reopening with restrictions was allowed, it was helpful but still very difficult. However, the second full shut down with a lack of assistance was a terrifying prospect for restaurants.
Even when aid was finally approved by the state, it wouldn’t be enough.
“We’re bleeding to death,” said Brian. “The relief package that they passed, it’s a bandaid for a lot of us, for us in particular it’s a bandaid.”
In the video, the owners confirm with Dr. Jensen that they planned to reopen, even with the executive order still in place. Dr. Jensen commended them, stating “These are courageous folks, and these are hard times.” He then asked viewers what they would do in this situation.
Hearing this would happen, the State Attorney General’s office contacted the county sheriff’s department, according to Pat Barri, chief deputy.
“The first step we take is to gain compliance through education,” said Barri. “If we’re able to get compliance, it’s all good.”
Part of the education is notifying owners of the consequences of opening. After notifying Brian and Cheryl, they complied with the governor’s current order, according to Barri. This means that Egg-Cetera will continue to offer take out according to their schedule. They are currently open daily, 9am-1pm for takeout. Egg-Cetera can be reached at 952-442-5441, with their menu available for order on their Facebook.