Minneapolis, St. Paul end vaccination-or-test order for bars, eateries

People eat outside on a patio.
Diners eat under heaters on a patio on Nov. 18, 2020, at The Gnome in St. Paul. Patrons of Twin Cities bars and restaurants will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News 2020

Updated: 6:11 p.m.

As COVID-19 spread rapidly in January, Minneapolis and St. Paul ordered proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test to enter public places serving food and drink. Now, with the disease waning, the Twin Cities mayors on Thursday rescinded the controversial order.

While the vaccination order is ended, Minneapolis and St. Paul are still requiring masking in indoor public spaces. Duluth’s mayor on Wednesday said that city’s masking order would end on Saturday.

“Key public health metrics are trending in the right direction. That is a welcomed sign for Minneapolis, especially for the small businesses and restaurants that have shouldered the weight of this pandemic,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a joint statement with St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

"We are grateful to be in a different place now than we were when this requirement first took effect,” Carter said. 

Liz Rammer, the president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, said the mandate reduced customer traffic by as much as 40 percent at some establishments when bars and restaurants had already been balancing a lot of issues during the pandemic.

"This is something that we had been talking with the city leaders, mayors' offices for some time, really requesting to do ahead of what we view as a really important holiday coming up here on Valentine's Day,” Rammer said. “And we know from talking with our operators how big of a business impact the vaccine and testing mandate had, it just added another challenge."

First Avenue in Minneapolis, which put in a vaccine or test requirement for their shows last August, said the venue will keep their own mandate in place.

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