Winona City Council votes to allow businesses to operate outdoors

The ordinance includes sidewalks, parking lanes
City Of Winona

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) – The Winona City Council approved an emergency ordinance designed to allow bars, restaurants, retail and service businesses to temporarily operate outdoors.

The ordinance was created in response to Minnesota’s StaySafeMN order that allows bars and restaurants to reopen on June 1 for drinking and dining in outdoor spaces, including outdoor public spaces adjacent to their business, such as sidewalks and parking lanes.

The ordinance will also allow retail and service businesses, some of which have already been able to open at limited capacity, to operate outdoors. The ordinance language was written in collaboration with the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Program.

Businesses with a brick-and-mortar location can now place and sell goods or deliver services in outdoor public right-of-ways, including the sidewalk and parking spaces directly adjoining the business, for as wide as their building extends. Businesses seeking to extend into adjacent spaces must get permission from those businesses first. Businesses are also allowed to use any private outdoor spaces adjacent to their business, including parking lots.

Businesses will be allowed to use these public spaces between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm seven days a week. They will need to pack up and move out of public right-of-ways every evening. Restrooms will be allowed to be open for customers with a limit of five inside the building at any time and practicing physical distancing.

Businesses serving alcohol must work with the city to change their liquor license to allow them to serve in outdoor spaces.

All businesses seeking to operate in public right-of-ways must register their plans with the City Clerk’s office, and provide copies of licenses and insurance certificates. Business owners can contact the city clerk, Monica Hennessy Mohan, at 507-457-8200 or to register and to ask questions.

Bars and restaurants will continue to be able to serve customers with pickup orders, also allowing up to five customers indoors at a time with physical distancing enforced.

Businesses can also request street closures, including just single lanes, for up to 12 hours a day on two consecutive days each week. Requests must include a written plan, a map, and can be submitted to the city manager for expedited consideration.

Businesses must:
● Use partitions of some kind (fencing, ropes, cones, etc.) to mark their space
● Preserve a minimum width of five feet on sidewalks for pedestrians
● Not extend into the driving lane on streets
● Not block ramps, fire hydrants, building exits, or other safety and accessibility features
● Only sell food and beverages if they have licenses to do so; businesses must follow all other state and local codes and regulations
● Ensure customers only consume alcohol within the partitioned area

For more details, and to read the full text of the city’s ordinance, visit

Any violations of the ordinance will result in a verbal warning, followed by a request to cease operations in the right-of-way if the violation continues.