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Minneapolis keeps bar seating restrictions as state eases up on rules

Patrons still won't be able to sit at bars due to COVID-19.

Though some of Minnesota's COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed, at least one will remain in place in its biggest city. 

On Friday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced that the city will not be rescinding the local emergency regulation that prohibits sitting at bars — even though it will be allowed statewide next starting week.

"The decision to leave the restrictions in place was made to improve the likelihood of restaurants and bars remaining operational instead of needing to close down due to another surge in cases," the city said in a news released.

The city added that the decision "will be reviewed in two weeks." 

This comes as Gov. Tim Walz eases the state's coronavirus restrictions. Effective Monday, parties of two will be able to sit at bar counters again, while indoor dining can open at 50% capacity, with a maximum of 150 people. 

Minneapolis will allow indoor dining as well, but according to the release, officials are sticking with the bar restriction because "local data suggests elimination of seating at the bar counter helped decrease the number of outbreaks in the City." 

This is partly in anticipation of "an increase in COVID-19 cases following recent indoor holiday gatherings." 

“Our communities and businesses have made extraordinary sacrifice, and this approach will best honor that sacrifice by making it more likely bars and restaurants can stay open while keeping customers and workers healthy," Mayor Frey said in a statement.

If you want to read more about the city's COVID-19 restrictions, you can click right here. Additionally, here's more about the easing of statewide measures happening Monday. 

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