The owners of a downtown Minneapolis vegan and gluten-free cafe are asking patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for anyone over 12 years old wishing to dine indoors.
The new policy, which started Tuesday, Aug. 24, makes Hark! Cafe one of the first restaurants in the Twin Cities and in Minnesota to require proof of vaccination. The move follows entertainment venues such as First Avenue, which put in place a similar policy earlier this month.
The cities of New York and San Francisco both require vaccine proof to enter restaurants, among other indoor venues such as bars and gyms.
Hark! co-owner Katherine Pardue said restaurants in other cities inspired the decision to require vaccine checks at her Warehouse District cafe.
"People who are deciding to not get vaccinated are making decisions that impact the rest of us, and as business owners, we are then motivated to make our own decisions and plan accordingly," Pardue said. "This is happening at restaurants in other cities around the country, and it's what makes the most sense for us at this time."
Pardue and co-owner Lisa Neumann opened Hark! Cafe (430 1st Av. N., Mpls., harkcafe.com) in January 2021, having signed the lease on their space in the historic Kickernick Building just days before the March 2020 restaurant shutdown. The cafe is the first restaurant in Minneapolis with an entirely plant-based and gluten-free menu. The daytime cafe offers breakfast and lunch, a coffee bar, pastries, bagels and dairy-free ice cream.
Beginning Aug. 24, all cafe guests over the age of 12 will be required to wear a mask upon entry to the cafe. When guests reach the counter, if they indicate they will be dining indoors, they will be asked to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test from the previous 48 hours.
Anyone, regardless of vaccination status, may dine at outdoor tables or order takeout.
"Whether people come in for lunch, coffee and a bagel or our freshly made ice cream, we want you to have peace of mind so that you can relax and enjoy things. That's what this is about," Neumann said.