Restaurant and bar owners react to vaccine mandate

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is defending the vaccine mandate. He says he talked to many bar and restaurant owners to get input before making the decision to mandate vaccinations. However, many owners say they didn't get so much as a phone call.
COVID-19 Vax Card
COVID-19 Vax Card Photo credit Getty Images

Twin Cities bar and restaurant owners are reacting to the upcoming vaccine mandate.

On Wednesday, Mayors Melvin Carter and Jacob Frey announced patrons will have to present vaccination cards or negative COVID-19 test results before dining within city limits.

"I would have loved to see a mandate that is statewide, period. End of story," says long time restaurateur, David Fhima.

"I would like to see it in supermarkets, I would like to see it in clothing stores. I mean, if we are truly serious about keeping everybody safe, and we truly think that being vaccinated is the answer, and I happen to think that it is, then why isn't it everywhere? Why are we choosing bars, restaurants and event places, which really make up for maybe 10 to 15% of where our citizenry spends its time and all the other places are exempt from that?"

Fhima making that statement to WCCO's Paul and Jordana.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is defending the vaccine mandate. He says he talked to many bar and restaurant owners to get input before making the decision to mandate vaccinations.

Mayor Frey told WCCO's Chad Hartman, "We did reach out to quite a few businesses. Did we hit every single business in the entire city? No. The answer's no, we didn't. But our staff in our Community Planning and Economic Development Department did quite a bit of outreach. I did outreach personally. And we heard, loud and clear a variety of different perspectives."

However, many owners say they didn't get so much as a phone call.

Tim Murray owns Murray's Steakhouse in Downtown Minneapolis. He says, he too, was not notified by the city about it's upcoming vaccine mandate.

"We just heard about it yesterday, one one week notice, so I don't consider that very irresponsible on their part. But, we will adapt and to whatever changes are necessary and continue to move forward."

Other restaurant and bar managers who refuse to be named in this article agree. They say they will comply with the order.

Meanwhile, Murray is already making arrangements to adapt to the new rules.

"We want people, particularly the ones traveling a long distance, to come see us. [They] may not have any knowledge of this. We'll make sure that they're prepared with their cards. We don't want to have an uncomfortable situation in our hands when they come to the door."

The vaccine mandate goes into effect next Wednesday in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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