Guidance for restaurants, bars, and breweries/distilleries

Learn about guidance and best practices for safely operating your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Walz turns the dial back on regulations

At 11:59 p.m. on May 27, 2021, COVID restrictions for capacity and social distancing will be lifted.

Masks are required in the city of Minneapolis for indoor use of public, entertainment, or service establishments. When the Mayor does lift the City-wide mask mandate, businesses may choose to continue to require employees and customers to wear masks and to distance. We encourage businesses to have a plan for what their individual policies will be and how it will be implemented when the mask ordinance is lifted. 

To Go Beer and Wine with Carry Out orders are no longer allowed.

State and City of Minneapolis Guidance

 State Guidance
Hours of operation Normal business hours Same as state  
COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Required Same as state  
Outdoor structures Tents and similar structures must have at least 50% open walls to qualify as outdoor dining. Enclosed structures must follow guidance for indoor dining. Same as state  
Face coverings: indoors Not required outside of Minneapolis unless by establishment request.  

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.

Permitted entertainment

Normal entertainment permitted per Business Plan

Same as state

Singers must maintain a distance of at least 12 feet from patrons. 

Masks required even while dancing.


Outdoor entertainment may require an approved Amplified Sound Permit

Same as state  

Vistit the Stay Safe MN website for additional guidance

Businesses need to follow the State COVID-19 Universal Guidance for All Businesses and Entities from May 28 through the earlier of:

  • June 30
  • Until 70% of Minnesotans aged 16+ receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Best practice recommendations to be more COVID-19 safe

  • Assign a “COVID-19 Captain” who monitors front of house COVID-19 requirements
  • Lower music volume to minimize the need for customers to talk over music. Talking over music increases the spread of respiratory droplets that may contain the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Wait staff request customers put on masks before approaching table to take order
  • Wait staff stand slightly behind customers when taking food or drink orders
  • Wait staff wear surgical or N95 masks; or double mask when wearing a cloth mask
  • Consider setting a time limit for table reservations. Share the time limit in your reservation platform

Further guidance and resources for businesses

Where can I find Minneapolis-specific COVID-19 updates?

Minneapolis COVID-19 dashboard

Minnesota dial back dashboard

What services are allowed in outdoor spaces?

Outdoor spaces may continue to operate in either their preapproved configuration. Businesses will need to follow current industry guidance for dining in outdoor spaces.

Can I continue to use my temporary outdoor expansion space?

You may continue to use your temporary outdoor expansion until 90 days after the State of Emergency has been rescinded.

You may use tents and other enclosed spaces to expand seating on private property. Any enclosure with 3 or more sides is considered indoor dining. Indoor dining must follow the COVID-19 restrictions for indoor spaces, including:

  • No capacity limits for outdoor spaces beyond normal requirements.
  • No distancing requirements.

All outdoor dining spaces must consider:

  • Snow removal needs
  • Structural ability of the tent or enclosure to hold the weight of snow without collapsing
  • How to meet Americans with Disabilities (ADA) requirements such as wheelchair accessibility

Some outdoor heating elements are allowed, as long as you follow fire safety regulations and consider incorporating an air exchange mechanism to allow for adequate airflow through the enclosed space.

Businesses thinking about a new or significantly altered outdoor dining setup should contact their Area License Inspector for additional support. You may need to submit a new site plan or an amended temporary expansion application.

Details on the types of outdoor structures and heating elements that may be used: 

 Allowed - No permit requiredAllowed - Additional permit requiredNot allowed
Outdoor structures: ground level      
Canopy (2 or fewer covered sides)      
Tent (3 or more covered sides), less than 400 square feet      
Tent (3 or more covered sides), 400 square feet or larger   Tent Permit Required   
Hard-sided/solid-wall enclosures (greenhouses, igloos, pods)   Building permit required   
Awnings   Building permit required   
Outdoor structures: rooftop      
Hard-sided/solid-wall, must not be plastic (greenhouses)   Building Permit Required   
Canopies (any size)      
Tents (any size)      
Heating elements      
Open flame (bonfires, pit fires)   FIS permit   
Liquid propane (LP) gas (patio heaters)   FIS permit   
Please note: open flames and fuel sources must not be located inside or within 20 feet of a tent or enclosure. Learn more about fire safety regulations.


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Public Service Building 
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 220
Minneapolis, MN 55415