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What to expect while dining out during patio season this spring

Stephanie Shimp, owner of Freehouse in the North Loop, talks about what it's like sitting on their patio amidst COVID restrictions.

MINNEAPOLIS — The weather sure doesn't feel like spring this week, that wasn't the case just a little bit ago. 

"With that weather we had a few weeks ago patios were packed," says Stephanie Shimp.

Shimp is the Owner of Freehouse in the North Loop. She says their patio can hold around 60 to 70 people right now following social distancing guidelines. 

With some flexibility, they have been able to add some tables beyond the rails that fence in their patio. 

"We can grow outside a little bit and that's been helpful," Shimp says.

Shimp says they've been starting to introduce more things like condiments at their tables but aren't back to using normal menus yet. 

"We're still working with our QR codes, digital menus," she adds.

Shimp says that you're welcome to take your mask off once you're seated at your table, but it's important to order directly from your waiter instead of walking up to their bar inside. 

"I think it's best for all of us to sit at a table and let us come to you," she says.

Shimp says they just held a clinic to get some of their staff vaccinated and that dining on the patio might be a good step back into eating at restaurants if you're feeling anxious about it.

"Many, many of our staff members have been vaccinated. I want you to know that," she says. "We are taking great measure to create a place where you feel safe."

Shimp adds that the limited capacity on the patio is going to make it harder to get a spot especially on those nice days. She recommends getting a reservation ahead of time. 

Remember that state guidelines won't allow restaurants to serve past 11 p.m.