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Friday, January 8, 2021

Minneapolis indoor dining may re-open; seating at the bar counter is not allowed

On Wednesday, January 6, Governor Walz announced a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions. The following table highlights the updated industry guidance for restaurants and bars from Executive Order 21-01. Dine-in service at restaurants and bars may re-open beginning Monday, Jan. 11.

In Minneapolis, Emergency Regulation No. 2020-17, which closed bar service, remains in effect. Customers in Minneapolis may not be seated or served at bar counters. This measure remains in place to limit the risk of patrons congregating and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Bar areas may be converted to seated dining space, but customers may not be seated or served at bar counters – even if plexiglass or similar barriers are installed.  In establishments that have counter-service only, the business may have a designated area for customers to order at the bar/counter.  Customers must maintain six feet of distance and wear masks while waiting in line.

*Please note the clarified language around bar counter service




Minneapolis Guidance


Hours of Operation

No in-person Food or Beverage Service between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Takeout and delivery allowed during normal business hours

Same as State


Adopt and Implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan


Same as State


Distance requirement

Minimum of 6 feet of physical space between parties

Tables should be spaced so customers are six feet apart when seated

Same as State




Same as State


Bar Seating

Up to 2 patrons per party

Not Allowed

Minneapolis Emergency Regulation 2020-17 remains in effect

No seating or congregating at bar counter

Tableside Seating: Indoors

Up to 6 patrons per party

Same as State

Includes booths, nooks, and high tops

Capacity Limit: Indoors

Limit occupancy to no more than 50%

Up to 150 individuals

Same as State

Face coverings should be worn in all indoor spaces by those able to medically tolerate them

Face coverings may be removed when consuming food or beverages

Capacity Limit: Outdoors

Limit occupancy to no more than 50%

Up to 150 individuals

Same as State


Outdoor structures

Tents and similar structures must have at least 50% open walls

Same as state

An exception may be made for outdoor structures (e.g. igloos) serving only members of the same household

Face Coverings: Indoors


Same as State

Face coverings should be worn in all indoor spaces by those able to medically tolerate them

Face coverings may be removed when consuming food or beverages

Face Coverings: Outdoors

Face coverings should be worn outdoors when physical spacing cannot be maintained

Same as State


Permitted Entertainment

Live music or other live entertainment with 25% capacity for indoor entertainment spaces

Organized activities and bar sports leagues (billiards, darts, etc.) with 25% capacity, limited to six participants per team

Recreational use is limited to two people per game

Cannot eat or drink while playing

Same as State

Live entertainment: Keep more than 12 feet of physical space between all performers and between performers and patrons

Organized events: Limit occupancy to 25%, not to exceed 150 individuals indoors (250 individuals outdoors) during events

Not Permitted Entertainment

Karaoke singing or open mic events involving performances by patrons and visitors, and patron dancing

Outdoor entertainment without approved Amplified Sound Permit

Same as State

Patron dancing: Permitted when hosting private parties or celebrations such as weddings using Guidance for Safe Celebrations and Events

See Minneapolis Emergency Regulation No. 2020-17 for definitions and regulations regarding bar service.

See additional guidance in Executive Order 21-01 Bulletin. Note that in Minneapolis, bar service still remains closed.

See full guidance in the Restaurant and Bar Guidance Document and at Stay Safe Minnesota. Note that in Minneapolis, bar service still remains closed.

Additional Changes in State Guidance

  • Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, martial arts
    • Gym capacity remains capped at 25% and maximum capacity increases to 150 individuals
    • Machines and people should maintain 9 feet of distance
    • Class sizes increase to 25 people per class, assuming physical distance requirements are observed
    • Everyone must weare a face covering, even while exercising
    • Saunas remain closed
  • Indoor events and entertainment
    • Open with up to 25% capacity, no more than 150 individuals
    • Face coverings are required
    • No food service allowed between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
  • Outdoor events and entertainment
    • Open with up to 25% capacity, no more than 250 individuals
    • Social distancing is required
    • Strongly recommend face coverings, though not required if 6 feet physical distancing can be maintained
  • Recepton spaces for celebrations or private parties
    • Wedding receptions and other private parties may resume with limits
    • If food and drink are served, then they are limited to 2 households or 10 people indoors, 3 households or 15 people outdoors
    • If there is no food or drink, they are covered by indoor event venues guidelines

Small Business Relief Funds Currently Available

Hennepin County Small Business Relief Grants

The application for new relief funding is now open for eligible Hennepin County small businesses and nonprofits that have been financially harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of up to $24.6 million is available. View the application guidelines and apply.

The deadline to submit applications is Thursday, January 14 at noon.

State of MN – COVID-19 Business Relief Payments

The Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) will administer this funding and notify eligible businesses (restaurants, bars, gyms, and bowling Centers) through their e-Services account by December 31, 2020. Eligible business owners do not need to take any action to receive this aid. Payments will be mailed in early January 2021. For more information, please review eligibility, payment amounts, and the timeline.

Small Business Grant Program - mpls downtown council

The mpls downtown council announced Thursday, December 17 the mpls downtown small business grant program to support small and independently owned businesses. This program will serve to support businesses who are central to the downtown experience. To date, the grant program will provide $1.6 million to small and independently owned businesses within the mpls downtown central business district starting in January. Eligible businesses are encouraged to apply now through January 15, 2021 by visiting Recipients will be awarded the week of January 25 and funds will be immediately dispersed.

Paycheck Protection Program Reopens January 11

On January 8, 2021, the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of Treasury, announced that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11, 2021 for new borrowers and some existing PPP borrowers. The initial wave of loans issued on Monday, January 11, and Wednesday, January 13, will only be available to community financial institutions, but the PPP will open up to all eligible lenders shortly after.

SBA has provided information for small business owners looking for a PPP loan, which can be found here.

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For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. TTY users can call 612-263-6850.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-673-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.