Mayor Frey Closes all Indoor Bar Areas in Minneapolis due to COVID-19 Pandemic
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is closing all indoor bar areas due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergency regulation, which goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Aug. 1, also covers taprooms, distilleries, nightclubs, and restaurants with a bar area.
This does not mean, however, that bars must close their doors. The bar areas within restaurants and other establishments will have to close, however. Table seating, including high-tops, is allowed under the regulation as long as existing guidelines are adhered to. That guidance sets a maximum of four people at a table maximum unless they are in the same family and household with 6 feet of spacing between tables.
The city expects nearly 640 bars, brewpubs, taprooms, and adult entertainment businesses will be affected.
The move comes as Frey says at least nine bars in Minneapolis alone have been tied to patron outbreaks of COVID-19 and at least three bars have led to employee outbreaks.
The Mayor’s office says more than 50 percent of new cases in Minneapolis are in people under the age of 35 who reported increased exposure in bars and at gatherings of friends and family.
“National experts have recommended the consideration of closure of indoor bar areas,” said Minneapolis Health Commissioner Gretchen Musicant. “Local public health data and information from sweeps conducted by City Environmental Health inspectors support taking that action to stem the rise of cases.”
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Walz addressed the concern of bars being forced to close statewide, saying, “We’re not looking at a statewide rollback at this point in time.”
The Minneapolis business community leader Jonathan Weinhagen, of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber, praised the decision, saying, “The raw numbers and share of traceable cases leading us back to bars, national trends, and expert advice have shown we need to take the threat of community spread seriously. I know that Mayor Frey created this tailored policy with the goal of keeping workers and patrons safe while heading off more sweeping measures like blanket closures.”