Vax mandates announced for St. Paul and Minneapolis

Proof of vaccination sign.
Proof of vaccination sign. Photo credit Getty Images

Minneapolis and St. Paul announced on Wednesday that they are implementing temporary COVID-19 vaccine mandates for restaurants, bars, and events starting on Wednesday, Jan. 19, for non-ticketed events and Jan. 26 for ticketed events.

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The decision from Mayors Melvin Carter and Jacob Frey comes as the nation is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.

"We want to stay open, and we need to stay safer," Frey said.

Frey said this was the next step to ensure that establishments could stay open and avoid closures they experienced at the start of the pandemic and last winter.

Carter shared that they are not in the same spot they were in at the beginning of the pandemic and that they are using the tools in their toolbox to stop the spread of COVID.

As for the mandate, proof of vaccination or a negative PCR COVID-19 test within three days will be required anywhere where food is served and consumed indoors including restaurants and events, like sports games.

There are places exempt from this mandate like skyways and grocery stores.

Mayor Carter also explained that the term "vaccinated" refers to someone who has received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Both Mayors encouraged residents to continue to go out to restaurants and do so safely to make sure that businesses do not struggle during this time.

St. Paul and Minneapolis implemented mask mandates last week, and News Talk 830 WCCO political analyst Blois Olson shared that both cities were considering a mandate last week.

However, they needed to work things out as they have different mandates for employees in both cities.

"They want to make it consistent and aligned in both cases," Olson said. "In St. Paul, it's mandated that city employees get the vaccine, and then they can ask for a waiver. In Minneapolis, city employees are required to show a negative test when they come to work, but if they have the vaccine, then they don't have to show a negative test."

Masks are required at all areas of public accommodations, which include "any indoor locations where members of the public may gather, visit, or patronize and can include, but are not limited to, bars, restaurants, museums, theaters, schools, recreational facilities, retail locations, and service offices."

There is no date at the moment for when the mandate will end, however, Mayor Frey said they will monitor cases and make updates when it is safe.