Grand Forks mayor issues emergency order modifying hours that liquor may be purchased
The mayors of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks are working collaboratively to reduce the hours that bars and restaurants, as well as of offsite liquor sales, may operate through the month of November.
Mayor Brandon Bochenski has issued an emergency order temporarily modifying hours of all classed liquor license holders, to include bars, bar/restaurants and offsale, to close daily at 11 p.m. beginning Saturday, Nov. 7, and running until 6 a.m. Monday, Dec. 1.
Bochenski met with liquor license holders on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 5, in advance of issuing the emergency order to listen to their perspectives and communicate his reasoning for the emergency order.
“The emergency order is short term and will expire at the end of the month. We are working with our partners in East Grand Forks on having a similar policy and message on both sides of the river,” Bochenski said.
“East Grand Forks, Minn., and Grand Forks, N.D., operate as a single community in commerce, health care, social life, worship, higher education and in many other ways. Numbers of COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks at a steady pace for over a month,” said East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander. “I will be asking East Grand Forks bars and restaurants to also voluntarily close at 11 p.m. for the remainder of November and to do our part in this effort. Working together, we can manage this infection in our community until the pandemic subsides.”
Bochenski said the move is another step to limit opportunities for the congregation of many different social groups in high-exposure environments.
"Reducing opportunities like this will help slow the spread and reduce the strain on our health care and school systems. Both are critical to keeping our community healthy and our economy going,” Bochenski said.
“I placed this order in conjunction with the state appropriating up to $54 million of CARES funding offering $25,000 in Economic Resiliency Grants per hospitality establishment. Applications are expected to open Nov. 16,” Bochenski said. “This has been and will be a strenuous time for our bars and restaurants as they have taken on a disproportionate share of the economic burden for the well-being of the community. They have supported all of us in our time of need. It is important that we are there for them. Citizens should make a concerted effort to support their local bars and restaurants by ordering through takeout, delivery and curbside pick-up options as well as in-person dining in a safe and responsible manner."
Bochenski said the action is just one of a number of mitigation strategies aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
"I strongly urge the citizens of Grand Forks to continue to practice good COVID safe behavior, like keeping your social circles small, washing your hands, physical distancing, wearing a mask and sanitizing frequently used surfaces. With the holiday season coming up, we need to be intentional and focus on doing these things to slow the spread so we can safely engage with family and friends during the holidays," he said.