The new COVID-19 restrictions announced Wednesday by St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will take a few weeks to impact most major sporting events in the Twin Cities — and the University of Minnesota might not be impacted at all.
City ordinances will make fans attending indoor sports venues in the Twin Cities provide proof of vaccination against the infectious disease or a negative test, taken under medical supervision, in the previous 72 hours.
The restrictions apply to any business that serves food and drink for on-site consumption — including restaurants, bowling alleys, convention centers and music venues.
But while the rules will go into effect on Jan. 19 for most businesses, ticketed events will not have to follow protocols until Jan. 26 — that includes Timberwolves and Wild home games.
The Timberwolves announced Thursday that they will begin enforcing the ordinance at Target Center on Jan. 30 against the Utah Jazz. All fans 5 years and older will have to follow the new mandate. Since fans between 2-4 years old cannot be vaccinated, they will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test administered by a medical professional with 72 hours of any home game.
How the mandate affects the Wild will take longer to clarify. The team said in a statement it will follow the ordinance, but the Wild currently does not have a home game scheduled with the new rules in place until March 1 against Calgary, though that could change.
The NHL originally had a long Olympic break scheduled through February, but that was canceled when the league decided not to send players to the Beijing Games. The Wild has had seven of its previous 12 matches postponed because of COVID-19 infections around the NHL and several of those games are likely to be rescheduled during that stretch.
One area where the rule will not have a direct change, yet, is at the University of Minnesota, which does not have to adhere to city ordinances.
"We are aware of today's announcements by Minneapolis and St. Paul and, as always, we are evaluating our own approaches with the latest data and input from public health experts, but we have not made changes at this time," the University of Minnesota said in a statement.
The Gophers men's basketball team would play its first game after the mandate goes into effect on Jan. 27 against Ohio State at Williams Arena with a 6 p.m. tipoff. The Gophers women's basketball team faces Wisconsin on Jan. 30 at Williams Arena at 2 p.m.
President Joan Gabel wrote in an email to the university that they will have more updated guidance by Friday.
Carter said at a news conference, "Our expectation is that the vast majority of businesses will comply, will participate and will see this as an opportunity to keep their business open, to keep their employees working and to keep our whole community moving forward together."
Both Minneapolis and St. Paul also reinstated indoor mask mandates last week.