Twin Cities to require proof of vaccination for bars, restaurants entry

Macy Hinds / DVIDS

Both Mayor Jacob Frey and Mayor Melvin Carter signed emergency regulations on Wednesday. January 12 to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the face of spiking cases due to the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Starting Jan. 19, everyone entering an establishment that serves food or drink in Minneapolis or St. Paul must show proof of either being up-to-date in their vaccinations against COVID-19 or having a negative PCR or antigen test taken within three days.

This requirement will take effect on Jan. 26 for any space of public accommodation while holding a ticketed event.

“We have more tools to fight this pandemic today than ever before,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “This policy will help expand our ability to prevent the spread of COVID while keeping our local economy moving forward.”

COVID-19 vaccines dramatically reduce the likelihood of serious complications from the virus and have been shown in recent studies to reduce spread by people who don’t have symptoms, according to public officials. Complementing the Jan. 6 requirement for wearing masks in most public places, this emergency regulation aims to protect residents and workers, reduce pressure on hospitals, and help keep schools and businesses open.

“The recent surge in cases is overwhelming our hospitals and the data is clear that more is needed to keep our city safe and open while we weather this highly contagious variant,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “This is an important opportunity to continue supporting your favorite local businesses and restaurants, knowing fellow patrons are either vaccinated or have tested negative. We all have a role in helping curb this surge in cases and keeping our city moving forward.”

“Minneapolis is only back to about half of seated diners from pre-pandemic levels after more than 1,700 businesses had to close in 2020,” said Director of Economic Policy & Development Erik Hansen. “We have to learn how to operate during the pandemic. This regulation helps to protect the health of business owners, workers, and patrons alike while keeping restaurants and other places that serve food and beverages open throughout our city.”

Businesses covered by the order include indoor restaurant spaces, coffee shops, cafes, bars, sports venues, entertainment venues, and conventions.

Employers should follow OSHA standards relating to employee vaccination status and testing at covered locations, regardless of the number of their employees. In general, the current OSHA standard is that employers require employees to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing.

Exceptions include children under age two, who cannot be tested easily for COVID-19; athletes, performers, and supporting staff (such as coaches, trainers, road crew) competing or performing at any space of public accommodation; K-12 and early childcare settings; hospitals; congregate-care facilities or other residential or healthcare facilities; locations that provide takeout service only; food or drink as part of a religious practice; outdoor spaces; grocery stores, convenience stores and other establishments that primarily sell food and other articles for offsite use except in seated dining areas within those stores; and soup kitchens and other sites serving vulnerable populations (e.g., People Serving People).

People should call 311 to report violations.

Information provided in part by the City of Minneapolis and the City of St. Paul