Penelope Burau again felt surprised.

His hair salon, closed since March 17, will remain closed for at least two more weeks as Minnesotans battle the coronavirus pandemic.

This week was the third time she felt ready to return to work, only for Gov. Tim Walz to decide that businesses like hers that involve close contact should remain closed for a bit longer.

“It’s something I never thought I’d have to navigate,” said Burau, stylist for Salon Concepts at Chanhassen. “To be forced to have no income, to be without anything, is quite devastating.”

Walz gave most retailers the go-ahead on Wednesday to reopen at 50% capacity on Monday. But convenient businesses such as hair salons, hair salons and fitness centers will stay away until at least June 1. Gathering places like cinemas, bowling alleys, bars and restaurants must also wait.

About nine in 10 Minnesota workers will soon be back on the job as restrictions ease, state officials say, but the hammer continues to fall unevenly on others.

Burau, with a daughter about to graduate from high school, waited more than seven weeks to receive her first two weeks of unemployment insurance and the $1,200 stimulus check from the Treasury Department.

“We basically eat what’s already in the house,” she said. “I go from a situation of self-sufficiency and independent work to a desperate search for work. It’s been a weekly nightmare.

John Schultz, who along with his wife, Kelsey, owns two Anytime Fitness gyms in the St. Cloud area, greeted Walz’s announcement Wednesday with relief.

“At least we have light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

The Schultzes laid off 14 employees and froze dues for 2,000 members. They’ve turned an annual practice they call “fear building” – in which they plan for the worst case scenario – into a conversation every two weeks.

“The easiest part is prepping the space,” Schultz said. “The hardest part is figuring out what the market will be and what the business will look like.”

Government loan programs meant to provide a safety net have proven difficult to navigate, even for Schultz, who once worked for Wells Fargo.

They easily secured a grant from the Small Business Administration for the club in Sauk Rapids, where their efforts to create a yoga and personal trainer program from the ground up began to pay off. But they were unlucky to get financial aid for neighboring Sartell’s Anytime Fitness, as it had been open for less than a year.

The couple plans to revamp some of the fitness classes and add more virtual ones. They are also exploring new potential revenue streams, such as meal plans, supplements, and nutrition coaching.

“The companies that will survive are those that are ready to reinvent themselves and respond to the market as it develops,” Kelsey Schultz said.

Jeremy Mathison, founder and COO of Broken Clock Brewing in Minneapolis, views a potential June 1 opening with equal optimism and caution.

“While it’s exciting and we’re looking forward to it,” he said, “we’re hesitant to assume that people will suddenly return to congregate in bars and restaurants, even at 50% of their ability.”

Broken Clock, a co-op with about 970 members, added a 4,000 square foot bar and had planned to mark its third anniversary this weekend during the crowd-packed Art-A-Whirl festival, which this year will be an en line -only deal.

“Just as we were starting to get our year-over-year numbers and seeing substantial growth, we were hit by that,” Mathison said.

Broken Clock brews in small enough quantities that it doesn’t have to resort to dumping, as some craft brewers have done. With the help of a Paycheck Protection Program grant, he brought back eight of his 11 employees to help fill growler orders.

But Mathison knows that loans and grants are not a long-term solution.

“As breweries, we are all fighting to reopen, welcome and celebrate our communities. That’s why breweries exist,” Mathison said. “We’re looking forward to it, but we understand that people come first.”

Burau, the unemployed designer, fears that she will never get out of the financial abyss.

She applied for a loan from Women Venture which was unsuccessful and ended up borrowing from her retirement savings.

She took a part-time job at Target.

“Having this temporary job has helped me not completely deplete everything I’ve saved up,” she said, “but it doesn’t pay my bills either.”

Although disappointed she will have to wait to reopen, demand for her services has not diminished.

Burau said she heard from 243 clients as of Thursday. “All want to be ‘finished’ on June 1,” she added.

Now she prays for patience.