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What you need to know about indoor dining COVID policies in Minneapolis, St. Paul

The policy begins Jan. 19 for most establishments that offer indoor food and beverage service.

MINNEAPOLIS — On Wednesday, the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced a new, temporary COVID-19 policy for indoor food establishments starting next week.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the new requirements, based on answers given by city officials during Wednesday's virtual press briefing.

What is the policy?

Patrons at indoor food establishments in both Minneapolis and St. Paul will be required to show a negative PCR or antigen test (within 72 hours), or proof of vaccine.

Who must follow the policy? 

The negative COVID test requirement applies to people ages 5 and older in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Vaccine proof will be accepted from the vaccine-eligible population, age 5 and older, in both cities. 

The original order issued Wednesday in Minneapolis only exempted children under the age of 2 from the testing requirement, but Mayor Jacob Frey's office confirmed to KARE 11 on Thursday that they're working to change the order to exempt children under 5.

Where does the policy apply?

The testing/vaccine requirement applies to indoor areas of restaurants, bars, theaters, sports venues, entertainment venues (like bowling alleys) which serve food, convention centers where food is served, and catering halls in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

What places are exempt?

The policy does not apply to dining areas in schools, hospitals, congregate care facilities, and grocery stores. Grab-and-go or food pick-up orders are also exempt. The requirement does not apply to outdoor areas or the skyway system.

When does the policy begin? 

The requirement starts on Jan. 19 in both cities; ticketed events or venues have until Jan. 26 to comply in both cities.

When does the testing/vaccine requirement end?

Minneapolis officials said the mandate will expire at the end of February or at the end of the declared local public health emergency. St. Paul will review in 40 days. 

Which tests qualify under the requirement?

City officials said any medically supervised PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours will qualify. Rapid home tests are not acceptable.

RELATED: Need a COVID test? Here's where you can get one through the state

What qualifies as vaccinated under this policy?

City leaders said a completed two-dose vaccine series (or single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine) completed two weeks prior to entry qualifies as vaccinated under the policy. Booster shots are not required.

How will it be enforced?

The policy will be enforced through complaints, including those called into the 311 system in Minneapolis. Establishments will first receive a warning, and continued failure to comply could lead to a fine.

What about masks?

An indoor mask requirement is currently in effect in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, and masks are required when not eating or drinking.

Where can I find more information?

The official order in Minneapolis can be found on the city's website.

The official order in St. Paul is listed under Executive Order 2022-4 on the city's website.

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