Minneapolis restaurant reservations down by more than 60 percent

But the mayor thinks restaurants are "absolutely packed."

Left: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey/Twitter; Right: OpenTable data on restaurant reservations/Twitter.

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.

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.

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.