On day one, vaccination mandates for restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul met grim resolution, temporary closures

Starting Wednesday, cities are requiring businesses to place only customers who have been vaccinated or who can present a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours.

Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

Mariam Kayali, right, had to show her COVID-19 vaccination card to server Aliya Hinz for dinner at the Hark Cafe in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday.

On the first day that Minneapolis asked restaurant owners to verify that restaurant patrons were vaccinated, Frank Gambino had all the tables and chairs stacked at his four Andrea Pizza restaurants.

For now, it’s only take-out and delivery. After the pandemic devastated the downtown lunch business and cut its income by two-thirds, Gambino could barely equip its kitchen and had no money to hire someone to check vaccination cards at the door, he said.

“We’re already getting killed,” Gambino said. “As much as I would love for everyone to get vaccinated, that’s just another reason why people don’t come downtown. … We’re going to take the siege step, see how it goes for a week , then we’ll re-evaluate from that point and maybe we’ll find something a little better.”


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