The silence in downtown Jordan — on one of the first beautiful spring days — serves as a stark reminder that the COVID-19 outbreak is most clearly observed by the absence of everything else.

A 50-degree day would usually bring foot-traffic downtown, where shop owners open their doors to welcome the fresh air. Kids, on spring break, might be seen hanging around on bikes for the first time in six months.

But in 2020, that just isn't happening.

By the time Minnesota's stay-at-home order went into effect, several downtown restaurants were already temporarily closed. The Pickled Pig Pub shut their doors before St. Patrick's Day.

"While we wish we could be open, we understand the bigger picture which is to do what we can for the safety and health of our fellow Minnesotans," a Pickled Pig Pug Facebook post said March 28, after the second order went into effect.

Other restaurants, like Clancy's Bar & Pizza Parlor, Linsey's BBQ & Grill and Suzette's, are adapting their services to the homebound. All three offer curbside pickup. Linsey's offers delivery and Clancy's recently began offering pizza deliver on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Delia's All-in-One is facing challenges on two fronts, as Highway 21 bridge construction limits road access near their restaurant. Fortunately for the newly-opened restaurant, the store was designed with take-out in mind. They are now only accepting orders online or over the phone and pickup has been moved to a table at the very front of the store to reduce contact.

"People walk in, see their item and pick it up," Manager Gabriel Lopez said.

Lopez said they considered offering curbside services, but ultimately decided to limit contact as much as possible, since the business is staffed completely by family.

"We are the business and we need to be at 100% health," he said. "We can't risk ourselves getting sick."

Boutiques, like Sassy Kat and Bluff Creek, closed down early before the shelter-in-place order. With other options available online, Melissa Orthun at Bluff Creek Boutique closed down early in the name of customer safety.

"I do a lot of online business, so it's a little bit different," Orthun said. "But it's a big impact, that's for sure. You have to stay positive."

Non-retail businesses are seeing changes, too. Jordan Veterinary Clinic has reduced their services to focus on emergency care. Contact with pet owners is limited as staff offers curbside pet pickup and dropoff.

Across Highway 169, it's largely business-as-usual for Jordan's industrial park. Some companies even, like W.W. Will and Sons, a distributor of refrigerated grocery products, has seen a boom in business as grocery stores struggle to keep up with demand.

Construction firms like Minger and JL Theis continue working on projects while observing social distancing and safety guidelines. The timing of the outbreak has catered to the industry's slower time of year, with road restrictions in effect, minimizing any loss in productivity.

And in the midst of all the uncertainty, some local businesses are taking advantage — if they can — of the slowdown. Tim Roets and his sons, who own Roets Jordan Brewery, scaled back brewing and closed the taproom for the time being. 

"We just decided to pull the pin," Roets said. "We're a family business, the brewers than I have work part-time and all have other jobs."

In the meantime, Roets and his sons are taking advantage of the empty taproom by tackling some spring cleaning and maintenance.

"We're going to make a few modifications to the brew house and tap room — simple stuff, but time-consuming stuff that's always on that list you never get to," Roets said.

But business hasn't come to a complete halt. On March 21 Roets was open for off-sale business, selling brews that are best enjoyed early, rather than weeks from now.

"It was incredible," Roets said. "We virtually filled and sold every piece of glass we had in about two-and-a-half hours."

Roets said they'll take a couple weekends off, but will return in April with another Saturday off-sale event — probably. Like most business, it's all up in the air for now.

"This may be the new normal for a while," Roets said.

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