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Restaurant, bar owners hope recent uptick in business continues

Restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul say there’s a noticeable difference in business since the cities ended COVID vaccine and negative test requirements.

ST PAUL, Minn. — “Around football season we are definitely a main attraction," said Mikayla Holland, a bartender, manager at Crooked Pint Ale House in Minneapolis.

She's a jack-of-all-trades at the go-to sports bar near U.S. Bank Stadium.

Holland said there’s been a noticeable difference since Minneapolis and St. Paul ended their regulations requiring people entering restaurants and bars to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test.

St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter said the move to lift the policy is due to a “decline in hospitalizations and cases” in the Twin Cities.

“We were nervous when they put it in place because obviously we want to follow the rules, but we don’t want to deny any people coming in to spend money with us. But now that it’s lifted it’s a really big weight off our shoulders, and we hope to see more customers coming in and spending time with us," said Holland.

"Complete 180 since that was lifted, but you can tell immediately business shot way up," said Jack O'Gara, General Manager at Tiffany's Sports Lounge in St. Paul.

O’Gara says there’s a big difference from this year’s Super Bowl compared to 2021.

“It was a lot quieter, I think we reopened like the middle of January so we were getting into the flow of things," he said.

Now, they’re hoping this latest spike in business sticks around even after Super Bowl weekend and Valentine’s Day are over.

Before you walk out the door for a night out, it's important to check with each business first -- some businesses may continue their own vaccine or testing requirements.

The mask mandate for both St. Paul and Minneapolis is still in place.

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