Environmental Health - Food, Lodging & Pools
To learn about opening or operating businesses in Minneapolis, visit pages listed under Food, Lodging and Pools. Also, visit Enforcement and Ordinances.
The Minneapolis Health Department is committed to partnering with businesses to provide information and support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To contact the Health Department, email [email protected]
For requirements and suggestions on each topic, visit the City’s coronavirus Business Preparedness Plan page.
Visit the City's list of Frequently Asked Questions for businesses
Community food distribution sites
Community Food Distributions are humanitarian food give away events. They are not marketing events.
There is no fee for this permit.
Prepare to reopen dining
Visit Guidance for Restaurant, Bars, and Breweries/Distilleries when you are preparing to reopen indoor and outdoor dining.
If you would like to expand your outdoor dining area, apply for a Temporary Expansion of Premise for Outdoor Dining License. There is no fee for this license, but there are some requirements. Business Licensing is expediting the application process for this license as much as possible.
For more information, contact your Business Licensing area inspector or call Business Licensing at 612-673-2080.
COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
On June 1, 2020, Minneapolis bars and restaurants will be allowed to open outdoor dining service with restrictions. Before opening, businesses are required to have a COVID-19 preparedness plan in place. Your plan needs to incorporate feedback from staff. Staff needs to be properly trained on the plan.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has developed a template with instructions (in English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish) and guidance. This guidance highlights topics which must be in your preparedness plan. Topics include:
- Health screening
- Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting
- Spacing and capacity
- Physical facilities.
For requirements and suggestions on each topic, visit the City's Coronavirus Business Preparedness Plan page.
If you have questions about reopening your food service, contact Minneapolis 311. Call 612-673-3000 or email [email protected] Ask for an Environmental Health supervisor.
Recommendations for grocery stores and markets
The Minneapolis Health Department would like to thank all of the businesses and dedicated employees working to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help protect the health of your staff and the community, we have some recommendations on how to continue to serve and protect health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recommendations for employees of grocery stores and markets (PDF) English
Temporary food pick up zones
Would you like to set up a temporary 'Food Pick Up Zone'? Go to https://minneapolis.mn.roway.net/ to create an online account and apply for a permit. For more information, visit coronavirus guidance for restaurants, bars, breweries/distilleries.
Food safety during delivery and pick-up
Find guidelines for food safety during food delivery and pick-up from the Minnesota Department of Health.
Download and print signs for your business.
Customers best practices for reusable bags & food takeout containers (PDF) from the Minnesota Department of Health
Coping with coronavirus - recommendations for food businesses
Recommendations for food businesses build on many tasks that should already be in place such as cleaning and sanitizing.
Guidance for avoiding COVID19 emphasizes excellent personal hygiene and social distancing.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Find a handwashing poster in 14 languages on the Minnesota Department of Health website. Also find videos that demonstrate proper handwashing in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong.
- Cover your cough and sneeze. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. Find a Cover your cough poster in 17 languages on the Minnesota Department of Health website.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Limit face-to-face interactions between staff and customers as much as possible.
- Keep a distance of at least six feet between individuals.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Stay informed. Visit the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites.
- Learn more about Sick and Safe Time. Sick and safe time is a law in Minneapolis protecting time off work.
• Businesses should focus on employee personal hygiene, including proper handwashing, and cleaning and sanitizing.
• Be sure your restrooms are stocked with soap and paper towels. Proper handwashing with soap is better than using hand sanitizer.
• Have tissues and hand sanitizer available for customers. Hand sanitizer should have 60% or more alcohol.
• Clean and sanitize all surfaces frequently touched by customers or employees. This includes items such as menus, condiment dispensers, salt and pepper shakers, buffet serving utensils, tables, doorknobs, light switches, faucets, point-of-sale systems, keyboards, telephones, beverage machines, buzzer-pagers, etc.
• Review your cleaning and sanitizing procedures.
• Inform your customers what you are doing to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
• Think about what you would need to do to continue operating if the virus spreads. Do you have online ordering? Food delivery? Could you operate on a take-out basis?
• Use sanitizing compound in water to wipe down tables. Make sure your sanitizer is properly mixed by checking the concentration with your test kit.
• When the water gets dirty or the concentration of the sanitizer drops, change the wiping cloth and replace the sanitizing solution.
• Employees, cleaning staff and others should wash hands often including immediately before putting on gloves and again after removing gloves.
• Employees and cleaning staff should wear disposable gloves for all cleaning tasks, including handling trash.
• Gloves should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area.
• Consider using a cleaning product with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims. The American Chemistry Council maintains a list of these products: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)-Fighting Products (PDF) (https://www.americanchemistry.com/Novel-Coronavirus-Fighting-Products-List.pdf).
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (for example, concentration, application method, contact time, and use of personal protective equipment). Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the product including precautions you should take when applying the product.
Linens – tablecloths, napkins, uniforms
• Employees handling dirty laundry should wear gloves.
• Do not shake dirty laundry. This minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
• Launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting (following manufacturer’s instructions).
• Dry items completely.
• Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
• Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance for hard or soft surfaces.
If a customer is suspected of being sick
• After customer leaves, clean and sanitize items the customer touched. The employee doing cleaning should wear gloves and wash their hands immediately after removing the gloves.
If one of your employees becomes ill with COVID-19
• Develop a protocol if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19.
• Use your Minneapolis Employee illness log (PDF).
• Make sure employees know your sick time policy and about their rights under the Minneapolis Sick and Safe time ordinance.
• Refer to the Sick and Safe time for food businesses flyer.
• If a staff member has a sick family member, the staff member should contact the Minnesota Department of Health to determine if it is ok to go to work.
• Communicate to employees.
Remember, viruses don’t discriminate and neither should we. (PDF)
You can find more information in a list of frequently asked questions.
If you have questions, contact [email protected] or call the Minnesota Department of health hotline at 651-201-3920. The hotline is answered Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Somali Certified Food Protection Manager trainingTababarka shahaadada maamulaha fayi-dhowrka cuntada iyo imtixaanka afka Soomaaliga ah
Help with refrigeration costs for small businesses
Xcel Energy is working with the City of Minneapolis to help small business owners save money on refrigeration costs.
The energy used to run refrigeration equipment can cost a lot of money for restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and liquor stores.
You can get money back for equipment upgrades from Xcel Energy rebates and the Minneapolis Green Business Refrigeration Program. The programs are easy to use and can pay for up to half of total costs.
The Minneapolis Green Business Refrigeration Program pays for up to 20% of the cost for equipment improvements. Businesses in Minneapolis’ Green Zone areas will receive up to 30% of project costs.
Get a free assessment for your business from Xcel Energy’s Commercial Refrigeration Program. Experts will look at your equipment. They will recommend upgrades to make your equipment more efficient which will save you money.
To qualify for City funding your business:
- Must be located in Minneapolis, and
- Be eligible for Xcel Energy’s Commercial Refrigeration Program.
The City will give a maximum of up to $10,000 to each eligible business. Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served based until they are gone.
To schedule a refrigeration assessment or if you have questions, please contact the Xcel Energy Commercial Refrigeration team at (612) 455-7803 or
Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) manages the Minnesota Commercial Refrigeration Efficiency Program on behalf of:
- Xcel Energy, and
- The City of Minneapolis
See a health inspector on the job
Health Inspector Kenya Urena-Muro visits about 350 businesses in Minneapolis each year. A large part of her job is building relationships with restaurant operators and managers to make sure the food served in our community is safe.
Food safety materials for businesses
Visit the Food Safety web page for useful checklists, cooling and temperature logs, and other resources.
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Environmental Health Newsletters
Environmental Health - Food, Lodging & Pools works to protect the health and safety of the public.
We do this by inspecting
- Food businesses
- Hotels and Motels
- Swimming pools
- Body art businesses
- Laundry and dry cleaning operations
- Tanning businesses
- Conduct health inspections
- Investigate complaints and outbreaks
- Enforce applicable city ordinances, state laws, and federal regulations.
- Team members speak English, Spanish, Somali, Hmong, Portuguese, Lao, Thai, and Korean.
We work closely with our partners to protect the health and safety of the public and to support our businesses.
Our partners include
- Minnesota Department of Health ( MDH)
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture ( MDA )
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration ( FDA )
- U.S. Department of Agriculture ( USDA )
- University of Minnesota
Should you require a reasonable accommodation in order to fully participate, or information in an alternative format, please contact 612-673-2301.
Para asistencia 612-673-2700 - Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 - Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.
Last updated Nov 17, 2020