After less than two weeks in effect, Minneapolis is loosening its restrictions on bar service.
Mayor Jacob Frey issued an order that from July 31, patrons could no longer be served food or drink in bar areas, and could only be served by wait staff indoors if they were seated.
This came after daily positive COVID-19 tests among city residents hit triple figures in late July, but since then cases have dipped somewhat.
The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association shared an update with its followers Friday that said the rules have been changed in Minneapolis, so that patrons can go to the bar to order drinks and food, but still can't sit or mingle there.
Per an MLBA memo obtained by WCCO-AM, establishment will be allowed to offer food and drink sales from the bar provided they meet a "recently adopted fitness test."
Customers will be able to order at the bar now for food/drink to be consumed at tables inside the establishment; and for takeaway for food/Growlers/Crowlers.
The initial restrictions announced by Frey were criticized by the MLBA, with executive director Tony Chesak saying that "broad brushing the entire industry in Minneapolis is overreaching.
"Most bars and restaurants are complying, which is what we’re hearing from the regulators," he added. Punishing those who are complying is uncalled for."
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety had issued warning letters to 14 bars and restaurants in Minnesota that was violating COVID-19 rules, including those requiring face masks for employees.
Several of those were in Minneapolis, but the DPS announced last week that after follow-up inspections, all 14 were now in compliance with face mask, social distancing and capacity requirements.
Bars and restaurants in Minnesota are only allowed to operate at 50 percent indoor capacity under the Walz's Administration's response to COVID-19.