Minnesota tweaks restaurant dining rules in favor of industry

The hospitality industry welcomed the changes as the temperature drops and fewer guests will sit outside.

The Red Cow location in Minneapolis. (Red Cow MN/Twitter)

(The Center Square) – The State of Minnesota on Thursday eased its restrictions on bars and restaurants.

Occupancy is still limited to no more than 50% and up to 250 people indoors and outdoors.

Some rules still apply:

  • Limit party size in dining rooms to 10 people
  • Require patrons in all areas to be seated.
  • Require reservations.
  • Require workers to wear masks at all times.
  • Guests must wear a mask except when seated.

Dancing is prohibited for regular food and beverage service, and it’s not recommended for celebrations, although they provided additional rules for safe dancing.

Steve Grove, the commissioner of Minnesota’s Employment and Economic Development Department, said the change is a “a small tweak … we think makes sense,” Minnesota Public Radio reported.

“Our epidemiologists and our Health Department looked at this,” Grove said. “They said this isn’t one of those things that we think is going to make a major difference in the state of the virus today.”

Previously, four unrelated people or six family members were allowed to share a table.

The hospitality industry welcomed the changes as the temperature drops and fewer guests will sit outside.

“Today’s decision to now allow 10 guests at a table in restaurants is a step forward, which we’ve heard will help some operators as the patio season winds down and we approach the holidays. We continue to advocate for safely increasing capacity and revenue, and the governor has indicated he is continuing to review our requests,” Hospitality Minnesota said in a statement.

“We all need to work together to help save this industry and the 1 in 10 Minnesota jobs it provides. With over half of restaurants and 30% of hotels facing permanent closure in the coming months, Minnesota needs a comprehensive strategy and we will continue to do everything we can to work on a path forward.”


Scott McClallen

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.