Residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul will now be required to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results before entering bars, restaurants, and other venues.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced the new mandates at a joint press conference Wednesday.
The new requirement will take effect Jan. 19 for non-ticketed events and Jan. 26 for ticketed events, according to a press release from Carter’s office.
Negative test results can’t be more than 72 hours old; at-home tests won’t be accepted.
Frey stressed that the “policy is temporary” but did not provide an expiration date. Carter said the requirement will expire after 40 days in St. Paul.
Frey and Carter issued mask mandates for their cities on the same day last week.
“This is a critical next step to avoid closures. We want to stay open and we need to stay safer,” Frey said Wednesday. “In fact, this is an opportunity for you to patron your favorite local businesses while being a whole lot safer. So you can go out to eat knowing that the people around you have been vaccinated or have received a negative test within the last few days.”
Other major cities like Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C. have similar mandates in place.
David Hann, chairman of the Minnesota GOP, said the new mandates are “the last thing Minnesota businesses and workers need right now.”
“Communities are struggling to recover from almost two years of executive overreach and bungled response from Democrats like President Biden, Gov. Walz, Mayors Carter and Frey and their allies. Biden, Walz and the Democrats can’t even deliver the testing ramp-up they promised,” he said. “These mandates are yet another punch in the gut for Minnesotans and it is time for the public to say enough is enough and reject this government overreach at the polls in 2022.”