Food digest - Guidance on Safely Reopening Businesses

food digest

May 27, 2020

In this issue

Guidance on safely reopening businesses

Governor Walz and members of his administration have announced the next phase of limited reopening for businesses. Restaurants, bars, and campgrounds will be allowed to reopen under limited circumstances starting June 1. Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan includes a chart showing the phases for reopening, and what to expect in each phase. Phase II starts on June 1. Dates for Phase III and Phase IV will be determined as we move into and through Phase II.


In conjunction with the Stay Safe Plan, Guidance on Safely Reopening Minnesota Businesses is available on the Department of Employment and Economic Development website. You will find the following information to help you reopen your business:

  • COVID-19 preparedness plan template
  • Checklist of guidelines for creating a COVID-19 preparedness plan
  • General guidance for all businesses
  • Industry-specific guidance for  
    • Restaurants and Bars
    • Personal Care Services/Salons
    • Retail
    • Outdoor Recreation

Restaurants and bars

The Industry Guidance for Safely Reopening: Restaurants & Bars provides a complete list of requirements for safely reopening these businesses. Some key requirements include:

  • Develop, implement, and post a COVID-19 Business Preparedness Plan.
  • Limit onsite dining to outdoor areas, in addition to the current allowance for pick-up, take-out, and delivery.
  • Ensure at least 6 feet of distance between parties, with a maximum on-premises capacity of 50 people.
  • Limit table service to 4 people, or 6 if they are from the same household. This is so servers can serve the table from the ends and don’t have to reach between guests.
  • Require reservations and do not allow walk-in customers. This allows control of guest seating and doesn’t result in large queues of people waiting around. This also helps with contact tracing if that becomes necessary.
  • Require masks or face shields to be worn by workers, and strongly recommend masks for all customers when they are not seated.
  • Establish a regular disinfection routine and train workers in that routine.

Campgrounds & charter boats

Guidance for Safely Opening Outdoor Recreation on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website includes information for opening developed campgrounds and charter and launch boats on June 1, 2020. COVID-19 Outdoor, Recreation, Facilities, and Public Guidelines, based on Executive Order 20-56, addresses public health protection measures for outdoor recreational facilities and the public.

Swimming pools

Public swimming pools are not allowed to reopen under this current phase. This includes pools used for swimming lessons, pools at day camps, resorts, campgrounds, apartment buildings, homeowner associations, etc. All of these pools, indoor and outdoor, fall under the definition of a public swimming pool in MN Statute 144.1222, Subd. 4. (d)

Questions about reopening guidance?

If you have questions about reopening your business, please review the Frequently Asked Questions on the Minnesota Employment and Economic Development website or submit your question using the State of Minnesota Contact Form.

COVID-19 resources

For additional information about COVID-19 call the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 or visit:

Resources for Business and Organizations

Additional information, including a comprehensive list of resources, can also be found on our websites: food and lodging information) or pool guidance and updates). We will update these websites as soon as new information is released.

Hennepin County web resources

Visit for information on:

  • General environmental health 
  • Basic food safety classes 
  • Temporary food stand licensing 
  • Food license information, categories, and fee schedule 
  • New construction or remodeling application 

Radon information and test kits 

Septic system requirements and procedures

Body art licensing information (tattooing and piercing) 

Beaches in Hennepin County

Public swimming pool regulations

About us

Food Digest is a quarterly newsletter written by inspectors from Hennepin
County Public Health Department, and designed to support and educate Hennepin County food facility owners and operators. Articles focus on food
safety and requirements from the Minnesota Food Code and Hennepin County food ordinance.


1011 First Street S, Suite 215
Hopkins, MN 55343-9413

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Past issues

Previous issues of Food digest available in our archive.

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Hannah Marschinke


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