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 March 1, 2021.  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

Green/Low Risk Level. Under the amended executive order, restaurants, bars, and other foodservice establishments may operate at 65% of capacity, not to exceed 200 patrons at a time. This order will take effect at 8 AM on Friday, January 31, 2021. Current requirements regarding 6 feet of social distance in between parties and masking requirements remain intact. Additionally, the amended order allows for banquet, ballroom, and event venues to operate at 80% capacity. These venues will also need to follow updated ND Smart Restart guidelines regarding total venue capacity. For current information on North Dakota's COVID-19 response efforts and related guidelines for business, visit 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 80% of normal operating capacity as defined by certification of occupancy for the specific room, not to exceed 300 total attendees.

RESTAURANTS & BARS:

  • 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.   
  • 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. 
  • Bars may operate with increased standing room occupancy that allows for social distancing. 
  • Dance floors may be considered. 
  • Consider use of pool tables, dart boards and other gaming areas as long as gaming equipment is not shared between customers or can be properly cleaned and disinfected between use. 
  • Consider use of blackjack, poker, and other gaming tables as long as social distancing is practiced and gaming equipment is not shared between customers or can be properly cleaned and disinfected between use.

MOVIE THEATERS:

  • Capacity may be increased to 80% 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 300 people.

EVENTS:

  • Capacity should be limited to 80% 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.   
  • Standing at bars or in reception lines is allowed, if 6 feet of separation between groups can be maintained. 
  • Playoff championship contests and performance events sponsored by the North Dakota High School Activities Association may continue under NDHSAA requirements. High school winter sports and other extracurricular K-12 school activities are allowed.

EAST GRAND FORKS/MINNESOTA

Per the latest Executive Order by Governor Walz, the following will take effect beginning on January 11, 2021. 

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.

RESTAURANTS & BARS:

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

RETAIL: 

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

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

  • 6 feet of social distance.
  • 50% capacity, not to exceed 150 individuals.
  • Appointments required.
  • Face coverings required for customers and workers.

GYMS & PERSONAL FITNESS STUDIOS:

  • 6 feet of social distance.
  • 50% capacity, not to exceed 150 people.
  • Face coverings required for customers and workers.

INDOOR EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

  • 25% capacity, not to exceed 150 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.