COVID-19 guidelines to help keep everyone feeling grand

While times may be tough, our two towns have proven to be tougher. This community’s response to COVID-19 has truly been SimplyGrand! Local and state leaders have done an amazing job trying to balance keeping us all safe, while still allowing businesses to survive and even thrive.

As a service to both visitors and residents who are wondering what the COVID-19 protocols are in North Dakota/Minnesota and Grand Forks/East Grand Forks, listed below are the policies currently in place as of November 16, 2020.  While we want you to enjoy your time in Forks, we also encourage everyone to follow the guidelines posted in local businesses to help ensure everyone stays healthy.

GRAND FORKS/NORTH DAKOTA

Orange/High Risk Level. This is the level of high risk for exposure and when transmission is not controlled in the jurisdiction AND health criteria is not met. Per Governor Burgum's emergency declaration, set to take effect on November 16, 2020, the following guidelines will now apply. Group gatherings are limited by certificate of occupancy for the room or seating area according to industry-specific Smart Restart protocols and social distancing is maintained. Cancel gatherings of any size where distancing cannot be maintained. Additional information may be found at NDResponse.gov.

ALL INDUSTRIES:

  • Spacing should be in 6-foot increments where lines form.
  • Cloth face coverings must be worn by patrons, in addition to employees and contracted workers whose duties require close contact with other employees and/or the public. 
  • Provide contactless payment systems or if not feasible, disinfect all payment portals after each use.
  • Provide hand sanitizer or effective disinfectant at or near the entrance of the facility and in other appropriate areas for use by the public and employees and in locations where there is high frequency employee interaction with members of the public.
  • Restrooms normally open to the public shall remain open to the public with heightened hygiene and cleaning standards.
  • Capacity should be limited to 50% of normal operating capacity as defined by certification of occupancy for the specific room, not to exceed 150 total attendees.

RESTAURANTS & BARS:

  • All bars, restaurants and food service establishments must remained closed between 10 PM and 4 AM, with only take-out, curbside and delivery allowed during those six hours.
  • Patrons must remain seated unless arriving, leaving or using the restroom, at which time they are required to wear a mask.
  • Allow for 6 feet of spacing between groups: increase table spacing by removing tables, marking tables closed or provide a physical barrier between tables. Back to back booth seating is allowed.   
  • Reception and staging areas (indoor or outdoor) should be marked so physical distancing standards are met.   
  • Tables should be limited to fewer than 10 people per table unless part of an existing group (e.g. family).
  • Drink refills should not be allowed unless served in a clean unused glass or cup.
  • Menus should be single use paper or on a material that can be sanitized after each use.      
  • Tabletop electronics for ordering or contactless payments should be sanitized after each use.
  • Beverage stations that are not touch free should be cleaned after each use. Disposable cups, straws and utensils should be handled by staff only and served to the customer, be individually wrapped or dispensed to prevent contamination by the customer.
  • Self-service condiments should be provided by request in single use or disposable containers. 

MOVIE THEATERS:

  • Capacity may be increased to 50% of normal operating capacity for each auditorium.
  • Allow for proper spacing between groups by keeping at least 2 empty seats (or 6 feet) between parties in any row. Alternate rows between customers by marking every other row closed.
  • Waiting areas should be marked so physical distancing standards are met.   
  • Group sizes should be limited to fewer than 10 people.

EVENTS:

  • Capacity should be limited to 25% of normal operating capacity as defined by certification of occupancy for the specific room.
  • Physical distancing and masks will be required.
  • Larger Indoor and outdoor gatherings are permitted if approved by community leaders and the local health authority.
  • Reception and staging areas (indoor or outdoor) should be marked so physical distancing standards are met.   
  • Tables should be limited to fewer than 10 people per table. Tables can seat more than 10 if part of an existing group, for example family.
  • Standing at bars or in reception lines is not recommended. Bar stool seating can be allowed for 1-2 guests, with 6 feet of separation between groups. Bars may operate with increased standing room occupancy that allows for social distancing.
  • Playoff championship contests and performance events sponsored by the North Dakota High School Activities Association, during the month of November 2020, may continue under NDHSAA requirements. All high school winter sports and other extracurricular K-12 school activities are suspended until December 14, 2020. This also applies to all association, community and club sports for youth and adults. 

EAST GRAND FORKS/MINNESOTA

Per the latest Executive Order by Governor Walz, the following will be in effect from November 20 through December 18, 2020: 

  • Social gatherings must be limited to private households only.
  • All bars and restaurants will be closed for dine-in; however, takeout and delivery are allowed.
  • Movie theaters, performance venues, gyms, bowling alleys, indoor pools, etc. will be closed.
  • Churches may remain open, with funerals and wedding ceremonies being allowed but receptions are prohibited.
  • All organized youth and adult sports will be put on hold
  • Out of state (air) travel is not advised but if one does so, they must self-quarantine for two weeks after returning.

Minnesota has entered Phase III of a four-phase plan to reopen the state with the issuance of Executive Order 20-74. This order allows Minnesotans to participate in additional activities, increases the size of permissible gatherings, expands capacity and allows indoor service for bars and restaurants and more. As of November 13, 2020, Governor Walz announced new restrictions in an attempt to help battle the spread of the coronavirus in the state. The restrictions, which target situations where young people congregate, place limits on gatherings including restaurants, funerals and wedding receptions. 

Per the Governor's Executive Order, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face covering in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces. Additionally, workers are required to wear a face covering when working outdoors in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. Research has shown that use of face coverings can greatly reduce the risk of infection when combined with other prevention efforts such as social distancing and hand hygiene. For additional information, please go to MN.gov/covid1 and Health.State.MN.US.

PRIVATE SOCIAL GATHERINGS: 

  • Receptions for events like funerals and weddings will be limited to 50 people as of November 27 and 25 as of December 11 and will be prohibited from occurring between 10 PM and 4 AM.

RETAIL: 

  • 6 feet of social distance.
  • 50% capacity.
  • Face coverings required for customers and workers.

RESTAURANTS & BARS:

  • Indoor and outdoor seating allowed.
  • 50% capacity, not to exceed 150 individuals.
  • 6 feet of social distance.
  • Reservations required.
  • Dine-in service must end at 10 PM.
  • Face coverings required for customers and workers.

PERSONAL SERVICES (salons, barbershops, massage, etc.):

  • 6 feet of social distance.
  • 50% capacity.
  • Appointments required.
  • Face coverings required for customers and workers.

OUTDOOR EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

  • 6 feet of social distance.
  • Gatherings must not exceed 250 people.
  • Face coverings required for customers and workers.

As these guidelines may change at any time due to a fluctuation in positive case numbers, please refer to each state’s official website for the most up to date policies.  Individual businesses also reserve the right to request patrons follow stricter protocols than those listed above.

If you would like information on all our awesome attractions, events, lodging, dining, stores and more, please go to VisitGrandForks.com.  We also invite you to follow Visit Grand Forks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.