The Potluck

Mpls. mayor orders restaurants end dine-in service by noon Tuesday

By: - March 16, 2020 1:31 pm
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaking at an event on affordable housing at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in January 2020. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a state of emergency Monday, ordering bars, restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs to close or limit operations by Tuesday at noon in an effort to curb the outbreak of COVID-19. The city will also stop issuing permits for gatherings of more than 50 people.

Minneapolis restaurants can continue delivery, takeout and drive-thru services.

The city is the first in the state to take such drastic action, following the lead of states like California and New York that have already taken similar steps to limit public gatherings. On Sunday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter declared a state of emergency and ordered libraries, parks and recreation centers close through March 27.

“Clarity in purpose and the ability to act decisively are vital in protecting public health and effectively responding to the evolving threats posed by COVID-19,” Frey said in a statement.

State and local officials are grappling with how to contain the spread of COVID-19, which is upending daily life and threatening the livelihoods of service workers.

The mayor needs city council approval to extend his emergency declaration beyond 72 hours. It is likely the council will back his declaration when it votes Thursday. Council President Lisa Bender issued a statement voicing her support.

“This is an extraordinary time and it will take collaboration, commitment, resilience and creativity from all of us working together to support the health and well-being of city employees, residents, visitors and businesses in Minneapolis. I am working with my colleagues and Mayor Frey to center our commitments to race and economic equity in our response COVID-19,” Bender said in a statement.

Frey is requesting the state of emergency to continue as long as the governor’s peacetime emergency order is in effect.

In his statement, Frey also said he’s working to buy additional protective gear for city staff who are at heightened risk of exposure. Frey also sent a letter to Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson asking him to delay enforcing evictions during the state of emergency.

Frey Declaration of Emergency COVID 19

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.