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New indoor dining mandates for Minneapolis, St. Paul go into effect

Customers have to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test to eat or drink on site.

MINNEAPOLIS — If you’re out for drinks in the Twin Cities, your ID isn’t the only card you’ll need.

A new mandate in both Minneapolis and St Paul means starting Wednesday, you’ll have to show a vaccination card or a recent negative COVID test to eat or drink onsite.

"If you have to pull out an ID to have an alcoholic beverage it’s not that much harder to show that you have proof of vaccination or a false test," said Erik Forsberg, who owns several restaurants, including Dan Kelly’s Pub and Devils Advocate in Minneapolis.

Forsberg says the mandate isn’t hard to follow. He says it’ll quickly become second nature, and help the community get through COVID’s latest spike.

"We ask that if you come in just be prepared," said Forsberg. "You know this is coming, so if you could help us out that would be great

The rule applies to nearly every business serving food and drinks, and only excludes athletes, performers and kids up to 5 years old. That means you need to show your vaccine card, a photo of it on your phone, or have a negative COVID test within three days.

Some in the industry say asking restaurant workers to check that isn’t fair.

"You’re turning a server, a host or hostess into an enforcement agent," said Tony Chesek, Executive Director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association.

Critics also say this is just the latest blow to businesses finally recovering, and may push customers to towns without the mandate. But the city of Minneapolis says seated diners are still just half of what they were two years ago, and some owners say it won’t be hard to handle.

"It’s not a big deal, it’s really easy, and it’s not going to be for very long," said Forsberg. "So be safe, help us be safe, and help us have a future."

The mandate in St Paul ends in 40 days. In Minneapolis, the mandate will also expire in 40 days "or at the end of the declared local public health emergency to which it relates, whichever comes first."

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