Carlton County businesses adapt to new normal

Senior living facilities are closed to visitors; employers are limiting visitors, changing how they serve customers or closing.

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The Warming House usually has many customers filling the tables most days. Tuesday, March 17, there were three people gathered around one table and the rest sat empty. They will be offering take out orders as well as drive thru. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

The new coronavirus has entered Minnesota and caused a whirlwind of changes.

Senior living facilities, such as Evergreen Knoll, Sunnyside Health Care Center and Diamond Willow Assisted Living, are not allowing visitors to keep those most vulnerable to the virus as safe as possible.

Evergreen Knoll implemented the changes last week, said Paul Abzug, president of the Housing Authority, which owns Evergreen Knoll. A total of 62 people live at the facility.

Anyone entering Evergreen Knoll, including employees and delivery drivers, will have their temperatures checked and will fill out a questionnaire, Abzug said. They are only to go directly to their destination, then leave.

“We need the public to take this seriously,” he said.


The restrictions do not apply to rental cottages outside of the building.

As a way to cope with fewer visitors, Sunnyside Health Care Center is encouraging its residents to participate in group activities and eat in the dining room.

Diamond Willow Assisted Living posted a request on their Facebook page asking students to write letters and make pictures for residents. Residents will respond and write back to the students. Letters or pictures can be sent to Diamond Willow of Cloquet, 130 West North Road, Cloquet, MN, 55720.

Restaurants move to carry-out

Restaurants are scrambling to find a way to stay in business after Gov. Tim Walz ordered them to close for dine-in service effective Tuesday, March 17.

That means the first official sign of spring in Cloquet -- the opening of Gordy’s Hi-Hat -- has been postponed.

Some businesses are offering specials for delivery or carry-out. Family Tradition in Cloquet will offer a daily family special and curbside pick-up for people who call early in the day to get on the list.

The Street Car Kitchen and Pub in Carlton will offer curbside pick-up and free delivery to customers over age 60 who live within 10 miles of the restaurant.

Most local restaurants advise patrons to check their Facebook pages for the most up-to-date information or to call.


Grocery stores such as B& B Market in Cloquet and Carlton Meat and Groceries are offering delivery service for a small fee.

Taking precautions or closing

Sappi North America's Cloquet mill is operating "at full capacity," but visitors are not being allowed on-site, said Olga Karagiannis, manager of corporate communications, in an email to the Pine Journal. Sappi employs 800 people at its Cloquet mill.

"We are working tirelessly to keep our communities, employees, customers and suppliers safe. To date, our mills are operating at full capacity. All Sappi employees who can work from home are being strongly encouraged to do so," she said. "Additionally, all travel, including customer-related travel and visits to Sappi North America sites, is cancelled until further notice."

Local veterinary clinics will still be open for appointments. They have encouraged clients to reschedule if they are not feeling well and advised them not bring the entire family to a pet's appointment.

The Cloquet Animal Hospital asked clients to call from their vehicles when they arrive at the clinic. A staff member will direct them to an empty exam room to avoid contact with other clients.

Necessity Salon in Cloquet closed its doors for now, said owner Desiree Pederson in a message to clients.

Pederson decided to close temporarily because she can't practice social distancing with her customers.

“We may not be concerned with our personal health, but we should be concerned about our neighbors,” Pederson said.


Penny Gellatly, owner of Escape by Travel, said she has been working to reschedule trips since the federal government banned travel to Europe. Some people canceled their plans because of age and health concerns. None of her clients lost money by changing reservations or canceling.

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