The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul announced on Wednesday that people will need to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test in order to enter restaurants, bars and other places of public accommodation.
The requirement takes effect Jan. 19. It comes just a week after the two cities reinstated mask mandates in an effort to combat the latest surge of COVID-19 driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant that has yet to hit its peak.
“Our expectation is that the vast majority of businesses will comply, will participate and will see this as an opportunity to keep their business open,” said St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter during a joint virtual news conference with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
All businesses that serve food or beverages will be required to comply, including movie theaters, bowling alleys, convention centers and stadiums.
Under the rules in Minneapolis and St. Paul, people do not need to be boosted to be considered vaccinated. Those who are not vaccinated will need a negative COVID-19 test result from a medical professional within the past 72 hours. At-home rapid tests will not be accepted.
In St. Paul, children younger than 5, who aren’t eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines, will not need a test. In Minneapolis, children under age two will not need a test.
People will be able to use pictures of their CDC vaccination card or apps such as the Minnesota Docket app to prove their vaccination status.
Other cities across the country, including New York, San Francisco and Chicago, have implemented similar mandates.
Some Twin Cities businesses have already been requiring patrons to show their vaccination cards or a negative COVID-19 test, including First Avenue, the Guthrie, Fair State Brewing and others.
But others in the hospitality industry decried the decision, calling it unjustified and burdensome for workers.
“It targets just one specific industry after zero science or data driving the decision, and zero caring about our dedicated front-line workers who will now add ‘enforcement agent’ to their plates,” Tony Chesak, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, wrote in a statement.
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