The Stay at Home Order has officially ended in the State of Minnesota. The motto for the summer of 2020 is now Be Smart About Being Safe. So what does this mean for a trip to the North Shore? Let’s take a look!

Dining Options – Curbside, Takeout, Outdoor, and Indoor Dining Options Available

Governor Tim Walz announced that restaurants will be able to host outdoor seating starting June 1 and indoor dining starting June 10, provided that social distancing is in place along with some other guidelines. Of course, many Cook County restaurants have remained opened by offering curbside pickup; and that has worked well.

If you would rather not dine at your chosen restaurant, some restaurants you can just call ahead with your order for takeout. Others have online ordering. And some you can still go into and order at the counter and take your meals to go. It can be confusing, but don’t worry! There are a couple of websites to help you navigate your options. See our links section below.

Grocery Stores

In Duluth and Lake County, most grocery stores are fully open and operating as normal. Some may require face coverings and flow isles in certain directions. We recommend you look up that information prior to going to your chosen grocery store. In Cook County, Gene’s Foods and the Cook County Whole Foods Co-Op are now open for in-person shopping. Only one member of your party allowed in at a time and face masks are required. Johnson’s Grocery Store is operating as a curbside pick-up grocery store only.

You can look at the photos of the grocery store online, virtually walk through the aisles and create a list of the items you want (be as specific as you can with the brand name, package size, specific flavors, etc.) and email that to Johnson’s. Let them know if substitutes are OK. Be sure to leave your number! Soon, someone will give you a call to request credit card information which will be entered into a secure payment system. Then you are given a pick-up time to come get your groceries.

It may sound intimidating at first, but it’s very similar to InstaCart and other grocery pick-up services.

Retail Options – Some Are Different

 "Be Smart About Being Safe"We are pleased to announce that non-essential retail and gift stores are allowed to be open. You will find some stores limiting the number of shoppers inside due to store size combined with other Best Business Practices created by store owners. We ask that you please respect the employees and the shop rules. Many businesses are requiring guests and employees to wear face coverings (masks, bandanas, anything that will cover your nose and mouth). Please respect these policies.

Changes With Your Lodging

Lodging establishments on the North Shore have made measurable changes to welcome guests back. Cascade Vacation Rentals is no different. We have adjusted our cancelation policy and have a new linen policy. You can read our company updates on our COVID-19 Policy Changes and Updates page.

Our Request of Visitors

Visit Cook County released the following statement to those looking to travel to Cook County this summer.

Greetings friends,

Thank you for planning to visit Cook County, MN! Our area has a long history of welcoming visitors to share in the splendors of the North Shore and Gunflint Trail. In fact, the Gunflint Trail Association was among the first tourism associations to be established in the state on Minnesota back in 1936. Over 80% of our local economy is tourism reliant, however, sustainable growth and community well-being is our top priority. As you plan your visit, please follow these requests to ensure that you remain protected as well as protect our residents from this pandemic as best as possible.

  1. Stay home if you are sick. If you are sick or have had contact with someone who is sick, do not go out in public. Contact your local clinic for advice on what to do next and notify any businesses or people you have encountered. Consult the CDC for the proper safety steps if you are sick.
  2. Be proactive about hygiene. While traveling and entering businesses, please be extra vigilant to wash your hands, wear cloth face masks and respect the rules and signage posted at the various businesses. Individual businesses have procedures in place to keep patrons and employees safe, please respect those rules and plans they have implemented. Follow the CDC and MDH recommendations for hand-washing and hygiene efforts.
  3. Have patience. Businesses are restructuring how they provide services to visitors to keep you and their employees safe. Some communal amenities may not be open for use. As restrictions change, please be patient as they are implemented locally.
  4. Be careful and practice extreme safety. As a small rural community, we have limited health care resources. In addition, be considerate of the fact that our Emergency Management Services and Fire Departments are all volunteer based. While our emergency services personnel are professionally trained and dedicated to keeping our community safe, taking an unnecessary risk puts these volunteers at increased risk.
  5. Practice physical distancing. Follow the recommended social distancing guidelines and maintain a 6’ distance between yourself and people outside of your group. Stay with your party and do not integrate or push yourself into people outside of your own family unit or traveling group.
  6. Come prepared. With limited resources available locally, guests are advised to travel with what you’ll need during your stay like groceries or cleaning/sanitation supplies. Lodging facilities have increased sanitation procedures, however, it is advised to run your own sanitation protocol on high touch areas (like door knobs, light switches, etc.). Learn more about what Cook County businesses are doing to try to slow the spread of the virus.
  7. Stay longer. Why not stay awhile and get to know us better! Extending your stay will not only be beneficial to your mental well-being but it will also allow you to dive a little deeper and explore the wonders of our area.

We look forward to sharing our unique area with you again when you are ready.


Visit Cook County

Final Thoughts and Helpful Links

We are excited to welcome you back to the North Shore. We have taken the last eight weeks during the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order preparing for your return and developing new safety measures and best practices. And we do understand this requires more effort on your part than in the past as well. So, thank you! Thank you for reading this and planning your trip in a way that allows you to “Be Smart About Being Safe”. Thank you for being patient and being kind as we all try to figure this out together.

Now, here are some helpful links for planning your trip:

Cook County Minnesota Coronavirus Hub (Includes Grocery Finder and Takeout Finder)

Visit Cook County Restaurant Hours During COVID-19 (Spreadsheet, Updated Daily)

VCC Retail and Service Hours During COVID-19 (Spreadsheet, Updated Daily)

Visit Cook County Event Cancellations and Updates Page

Exploring the North Shore | What To Expect When You Head North

ETNS | Restaurant, Grocery, and Dining Options (Updated Weekly)

Exploring the North Shore | Event Cancellations