Grand Forks pub supports Bochenski’s decision to close bars, restaurants early

Grand Forks bars, liquor stores and restaurants serving alcohol had to close early beginning this past Saturday

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — As UND students return to campus, Grand Forks has seen a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases among people in their twenties.

“We expect our students, upon their return, either to test before they come back to campus or shortly after,” said UND President Dr. Andrew Armacost a couple weeks ago.

15 to 29-year-olds make up 87 percent of the cases in Grand Forks County, according to Mayor Brandon Bochenski.

After a discussion with White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, Bochenski decided shutting liquor license holders at 11:00 every night was the best move.

“We felt like in house parties and other gatherings, it’s usually your social circles, but at bars, especially late at night when there’s maybe not the most responsible activities, there’s different social circles coming together,” he said.

Bonzer’s Sandwich Pub on DeMers Avenue is one of the businesses impacted by the change in hours.

Owner Matt Bonzer says the younger crowd usually comes out later at night.

He’s supportive of the Mayor’s decision to close shop early.

“I do tend to support the fact that limiting people’s hours of being able to consume will probably help, at least with behavior and crowding and things like that,” he explained.

Bonzer says mitigation efforts like these to help slow the spread will bode well for business owners in the long run.

“I’m worried about it, and I don’t want it to get worse, and I don’t want us to have to shut down to dine-in again.”

Although it’s not ideal, he says the adjustment came as no surprise.

“There’s not really anything that surprises me at this point,” Bonzer added. “I’m not allowing myself to be surprised. I’m ready. Everyday, when I come in here, I’m just prepared for something to happen and for there to have to be an adjustment made.”

Bochenski says he hopes the adjustment of hours will last only a couple weeks.

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Local News, North Dakota News