Minneapolis restaurants are seeing 65% fewer reservations this month compared to 2019, according to data from OpenTable.
This puts Minneapolis behind 44 other major cities in its economic recovery. Four cities in Florida have actually seen increases in restaurant reservations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) January 26, 2022
Just last week, a vaccine mandate went into effect in both Minneapolis and St. Paul for bars and restaurants. Now, patrons who wish to dine-in at any business that serves either food or drink must show their vaccine cards or proof of a negative COVID test taken no more than 72 hours before. At-home tests are not accepted despite the Biden administration’s push to provide Americans with free at-home tests.
Minneapolis restaurant owners believe the “burdensome” requirements will decrease business, but Mayor Jacob Frey thinks restaurants are “absolutely packed.”
“So I’m getting videos from so many people all around the city showing absolutely packed restaurants and bars,” Frey said in a video Friday.
First Friday with the new vax/testing policy is in the books & my phone has been flooded with pictures of full tables. Once again MPLS is leading the way through a trying time, showing we care about the health and safety of our neighbors while supporting the restaurants we love. pic.twitter.com/6ckoDdBbnI
— Mayor Jacob Frey (@MayorFrey) January 22, 2022
Several Minneapolis restaurants have temporarily closed or paused indoor dining as a result of the mandates.
The Minneapolis St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership noted that employment in the Twin Cities restaurant industry is still 14% below pre-COVID levels. Additionally, Twin Cities restaurant reservations were still down 50% from 2019 in December.
More than 70 restaurants in the Twin Cities area have permanently closed since the beginning of the pandemic.
Minneapolis has also seen a massive uptick in crime, tying its homicide record of 97 in 2021.
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.