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Hark Café among the first to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test to dine indoors

First Avenue announced all concerts and events will require either proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours.

MINNEAPOLIS — Hark Café sits along bustling North First Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis.

"We are a gluten free and vegan café in downtown Minneapolis and a bar," said co-owner, Katherine Pardue.

The business opened their doors in December - during the height of the pandemic. 

"We signed our lease the day Minnesota went into lockdown in March," Pardue said.

As the delta variant continues to spread across the U.S., the business decided to announce a new policy.

"I believe we are the first restaurant in Minnesota to require customers who would like to eat indoors to provide a negative COVID-19 test done within last 48 hours or proof of vaccination," she said.

This comes after First Avenue, just a few blocks from the café, announced all concerts and events there and its associated venues will require either proof of a full course of COVID-19 vaccination, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken in the prior 72 hours.

Cities like New York City and San Francisco announced COVID-19 vaccination requirements for anyone who wants to dine indoors at a restaurant, see a performance or go to the gym. 

"We started talking about it when New York City announced they would implement it, and we saw our peers in the service industry implement it," Pardue said.

She says while they're hoping to keep their staff and patrons safe, there are options for those who can't provide the required documentation - including takeout, delivery and dining outdoors. 

"No one will be turned away," she said. "Our delicious food and drinks can be enjoyed by everyone."

While Pardue is hoping other businesses follow suit, she wants to see city leaders do more to protect small businesses, employees and customers.

"City council, I hope that they can consider what they can do for the city, for small businesses like ours," she said. "I encourage them to do some hard thinking about what they can do."

To learn more about Hark Cafe and their COVID-19 policy, visit the website here.