Reopening indoor dining, food business virtual training, small business relief fund

food digest

January 8, 2021

In this issue

Executive Order 21-01 opens indoor dining at restaurants and bars


Executive Order 21-01 will begin Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021 at 11:59 pm and does not have an end date.

Executive Order 21-01 allows restaurants and bars to offer food for indoor and outdoor onsite consumption

Restaurants, cafes, coffeehouses, bars, taverns, brewer taprooms, micro distiller cocktail rooms, farm wineries, craft wineries, cideries, golf courses and clubs, dining clubs, and other places of Public Accommodation that offer food and beverages are allowed to offer food for indoor and outdoor onsite consumption, within the following parameters: 

  • Occupancy capacity is limited to no more than 50% of the capacity, up to a maximum of 150 patrons inside; and a maximum of 150 patrons outside. Social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained between parties. 
  • Onsite dining hours are between 4:00 am and 10:00 pm. Take-out and delivery may occur after 10:00pm. 
  • Party/table size must be limited to no more than six people. A party of two may be seated together at a bar or counter. Six feet of distance is required between parties.
  • Patrons and staff are required to wear masks indoors, except when eating or drinking.
  • Patrons must be seated at all times.
  • Reservations are required for onsite dining.
  • Private parties, events, receptions, or other gatherings in an exclusive separate space(ballroom or other private room) are allowed. If these events involve food or beverage, they must be limited to up to two households, with no more than 10 people inside; up to three households outside, with no more than 15 people.
  • League play of games and amusement devices is allowed with additional restrictions and is limited to six participants per team. Recreational use is limited to two people per game. See Restaurant and Bar Guidance Document for additional requirements.
  • Limitations on tents and igloos: tents must have at least 50% open walls. See Restaurant and Bar Guidance Document for more detail about indoor and outdoor spaces and additional requirements for these structures. 
  • Prepare and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that includes compliances with all requirements in EO 20-01 in order to provide food and beverage service for indoor and outdoor on-site consumption.

Please reference the Restaurant and Bar Guidance Document for additional information.

Weddings, celebrations, and parties are allowed

Wedding, celebrations, and parties are allowed with the following limitations:

  • Celebrations and private parties that involve food or beverages: Participation is limited to social gathering sizes.
    • Indoor social gatherings are limited to up to two households with no more than 10 people that can maintain social distance of 6 feet.
    • Outdoor social gatherings are limited to up to three households with no more than 15 people that can maintain social distance of 6 feet.
  • Celebrations and private parties that do not involve food or beverages: adhere to capacity and restrictions applicable to the venue.
  • Ceremonies in places of worship and other venues may continue at 50% occupancy.

Please reference the Celebrations Guidance Documents for additional information.

Outdoor entertainment is allowed

Outdoor entertainment venues are allowed to open when:

  • Occupancy capacity is limited to no more than 25%; up to a maximum of 250 patrons in the venue with social distance of 6 feet maintained.
  • Food service must adhere to restaurant guidance.
  • Food and beverage service and consumption must be prohibited between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

Indoor entertainment is allowed

Indoor entertainment venues like theaters, bowling, arcades and meeting places are allowed to open when:

  • Occupancy capacity is limited to no more than 25%; up to a maximum of 150 patrons in each area of the venue with social distance of 6 feet maintained.
  • Food and beverage service and consumption must be prohibited between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

Pools may be open

  • Pools and spa pools may be open at 25% of the normal capacity, up to a maximum of 150 people, whichever number is smaller.
  • Nine feet of social distancing for patrons from different households is required in the pool and on the deck at all times.
  • If a pool is located within a place of public accommodation with limited occupancy, such as a fitness center, the occupants of a pool must be counted toward the overall occupancy of the place of public accommodation.
  • Please see the Pool Guidance Document for specific guidance related to lap swim, swimming lessons, and group fitness.
  • Saunas and steam rooms remain closed.


Executive Order 21-01

Restaurant and Bar Guidance Document

Celebrations Guidance Documents

Pool Guidance Document

COVID-19 In-Service for Food Businesses

The COVID-19 In-Service for Food Businesses is a virtual educational event - join us to learn more about COVID-19 requirements and other topics. You'll have an opportunity to ask questions and share what has and has not worked for you and your business during this difficult time.

This event will provide 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for Certified Food Protection Managers (CFPMs). If you will be attending and would like a CEU certificate, please complete the pre-survey.

Topics include:
• Financial assistance - small business grant
• Review of Executive Order 21-01
• Plan review changes during COVID-19
• COVID-19 updated quarantine guidance
• Mental health resources
• Question & Answer session


Monday, January 11th, 2021
2:00 – 3:30 pm


Virtually on Microsoft Teams Live

To join:

Visit for the link to join the meeting


Visit our Facebook Event Page for event information and to join from there

Please complete the pre-survey if:
• You are attending for CFPM CEU
• You would like captions in another language
• You have questions you would like us to
answer during the session

Small Business Relief Fund - applications due January 14, 2021 by noon

A total of $24.6 million in relief funding is available for small businesses. This funding was given to Hennepin County by the State of Minnesota to support businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic and related state restrictions.

Eligible businesses and nonprofits can apply for grant amounts as follows: 

  • Sole proprietors with a physical commercial location and no W-2 employees: $10,000
  • Home-based businesses with W-2 employees: $10,000
  • Organizations with one or more employees, other than an owner: $15,000

Businesses that received a previous small business relief grant from Hennepin County are eligible to apply for additional funding this round. However, priority will be given to first time applicants. 


Guidelines may change before the deadline. Please review all information on the Hennepin County Economic and Development website carefully before submitting your application.

Businesses that applied to Hennepin County’s Small Business Relief Fund round for restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues that closed on December 1 but did not receive a grant will be automatically considered for funding and do not need to re-apply.

Help completing the application is available at, or by contacting

More information including eligibility requirements and eligible expenses can be found on the Hennepin County Economic and Development website.

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.

Food digest feedback

Hannah Marschinke


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