Both times in 2020 that Minnesota restaurants were ordered to shut down indoor dining, the order had come from the state.
This time, J. Selby's is making the call by itself.
The St. Paul plant-based restaurant has closed its dining room and is resuming curbside pickup and walk-up window orders "until the COVID case counts drop back to a safe level," owner Matt Clayton wrote in a Facebook post.
Clayton said he began this year with a goal of reopening indoor dining when new cases of COVID sunk to less than 200 in Minnesota. The state hit that target in June and J. Selby's — which is known for vegan versions of comfort food — reopened in July.
"Unfortunately, things have changed," Clayton wrote. With daily case counts in the 2,000s — more than 10 times the range he was aiming for — Clayton consulted with staff about the safest way forward. The decision to pause indoor dining was effective Sept. 19.
"I know this may seem extreme, but with the dining room open, our staff are exposed to hundreds of unmasked strangers each day in a relatively enclosed space. While the risk for any individual diner may be small, the risk to the staff is exponentially larger," Clayton wrote.
"Thanks for your understanding and we hope we can continue to serve you as we all make our way through this ongoing ordeal."
The restaurant's menu can be ordered online for curbside pickup or window pickup (169 N. Victoria St., St. Paul, 651-222-3263, jselbys.com).