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Please follow guidelines

Signs at the B&L bar, Menards and many other businesses urge customers to act safely in the COVID-19 era. Staff photo by Clay Schuldt

NEW ULM — In light of the 4th of July holiday, Brown County Public Health is encouraging anyone to follow the COVID-19 guidelines set by the state and local businesses.

Businesses that have been allowed to open since June are required to have guidelines and are required to have a written plan reflecting those guidelines. Many establishments will post the guidelines at the front entrance.

In general, an establishment is only allowed a certain percentage of their maximum capacity of guests and must have put measures in place for the social distancing of 6 feet between family groups.

Brown County Public Health is asking the public to respect those guidelines and follow any signage or requests of the business so they can remain in compliance and follow their plan.

There has been a spike in positive COVID-19 tests among young people across the country. This increase is credited to people attending large gatherings such as at bars and restaurants or private gatherings without social distancing and a cloth face cover. If infection rates increase, some reopened businesses may need to close again.

A sign in the front door of the B&L Bar warned “I can’t follow the rules if you don’t. Please don’t let me get shut down.”

Owner Rick Kamm said the bar will be shutting down after Thursday. Kamm said the temporary closure is due to social restraints.

Bars are not the only establishments struggling to get patrons to follow guidelines.

Asked if customers were following the guidelines, Bookshelves & Coffeecups owner Jerry Chamberlain said “yes and no.”

Bookshelves & Coffeecups originally only recommended people wear face masks in the shop, but after a few mercurial protests from some customers against wearing masks, the shop went to an all-mask policy.

Chamberlain said people need to remove masks to drink coffee and that is fine if the customers are socially distancing, but if a customer is at the front register, a mask is expected.

MN EIS co-owner Lindsay Schweiss was placing signs in the parlor asking customers to keep a six-foot distance. She said it has been a challenge to get customers to maintain social distancing.

Schweiss said when a family comes in, they don’t need to social distance, but other customers see a large group together and then think it is okay to break the six-foot rule.

Schweiss said the shop has been able to meet the 50% capacity guideline. The building has a maximum capacity of 80, meaning 40 people can be inside the ice cream shop at one time. Schweiss said if customers exceed 40 the extra customers must wait outside in a line.

“It is unfair to the businesses when people don’t follow,” Brown County Public Health Director Karen Moritz said. “We all need to be respectful of their efforts to stay open.”

With summer here and holiday weekends please think about options to prevent the spread, officials urged. Outdoor gatherings of 25 people or less with social distancing or indoor gatherings of 10 people or less with social distancing are recommended. Staying home is the safest option.

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