Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Rochester Mayor Kim Norton today signed an amendment to the city's pandemic emergency order to assist bars and restaurants.

A news release says the amendment includes provisions allowing licensed bars and restaurants to expand outdoor seating while the emergency remains in effect.

Mayor Kim Norton said, "Our local small businesses are the cornerstone of our community. We are committed to supporting their efforts to reopen and rebound from the closure with creative and streamlined supports. We also continued to keep a focus on the health and safety of our entire community."

The mayor says the executive order provides a greater amount of flexibility in how the city can work with the businesses to maintain a safe environment under the parameters set forth by Governor Tim Walz in the executive order he issued last week allowing the bars and restaurants to reopen on June 1st using limited outdoor seating. Rochester businesses can begin the process by filling out an online application that will be available beginning Wednesday.

Businesses seeking to establish seating on the public right-of-way will be able to finalize the needed agreements for the space at a special station set up at the corner of 1st Avenue and 3rd Street Southwest on Thursday from 8 AM until noon and on Friday from 8 AM until 4 PM.

The amendment signed by the mayor today will be brought to the Rochester City Council for a formal vote on Wednesday.

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