EAST GRAND FORKS — Bob Moore sort of retired on the first of the year when he sold River Cinema to his kids. The pandemic ended that retirement.
"I've worked my whole life to bring it here. I'm not going to give it up," he said.
The effect is felt across the hall at Hollywood Heroes, which is allowed to remain open. Coming in to the pandemic, 90% of the business at the comic book store was foot traffic from the movie theater.
"The quote of the year, 'just keeping moving forward,'" said owner Jonan Garcia.
Lawmakers will meet in St. Paul for a special session on Monday, Dec. 14, where they will discuss a more than $200 million relief package. That might not be enough for local staples like Mike's Pizza.
"We are not going to be able to just bounce back. The trickle-down effect is going to be felt for years to come," said owner Sherry Aarnes.
"The governor calls bordering states, North Dakota and South Dakota, irresponsible for their actions, so he has no intentions of making exceptions for border communities," explained Republican East Grand Forks Sen. Mark Johnson.
Local lawmakers do not think there is enough support to overrule the governor if he decides to extend his dining room shutdown order.
"I'm not a rule breaker; it's not who I am. But I want to open," Aarnes said.
Mayor Steve Gander said the city will not endorse businesses defying the governor's order. He said the city will not go rogue and will enforce it at the request of the state.
When asked why the city would not take the lead on enforcement, Gander said, "That's a good question, and the answer is really it's the state's responsibility in this case."
For Bob Moore and his family, they are waiting for the show to go on.
"You’ve never run a business," Moore said of Gov. Tim Walz.