Minneapolis, St. Paul requiring proof of COVID vaccination for restaurants, bars
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – Minneapolis and St. Paul officials provided an update on each cities’ response to addressing the recent increase in COVID-19 cases during a virtual press conference Wednesday.
Mayors Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter announced their respective cities would institute a proof of vaccination or negative test taken within 72 hours for “customers at all places people eat or drink” – noting it would include stadium events, but schools and hospitals would be exempt. An explicit expiration date for the mandate was not provided.
“Data is exceedingly clear that more is needed to keep our cities safe,” Frey said during the announcement. “This is a critical next step to avoid closures. We want to stay open, but we want to stay safer… This is the next best step for employees and visitors to stay safe.”
Home rapid tests will not be accepted, and “vaccinated” is defined as the entire vaccination course, meaning both doses completed. A PCR test will be accepted, if supervised in-person.
Frey noted that he recognized the mandate would add another layer of responsibilities to restaurant and bar owners.
According to Erik Hansen, director of economic policy and development for the City of Minneapolis, business outreach prior to the decision included polling of community organization and businesses.
“The intent is not go in with a heavy hand, but allow our businesses to stay open,” Frey said. “As far as enforcement goes and how it will function, generally it will be complaint based.”
“We need to take every step that we can to fight the growing impact of this pandemic,” Carter said. “We have more tools in our toolbox than ever before, and together we can help prevent the spread [of COVID] and ensure we’re part of the solution…Only by working together can we all help prevent the spread of COVID and keep our economy moving forward.”
Carter noted that in St. Paul the mandates would take effect on Jan. 19 for non-ticketed events, and Jan. 26 for ticketed events.
“This regulation we believe helps protect the health of business owners and patrons alike, while still keeping these businesses open,” Hansen said.
“We really want to encourage people to get vaccinated – that will be the safest way to get into these events,” Interim Minneapolis Health Commissioner Heidi Ritchie said.