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'We Had No Idea': Why Most St. Paul Diners Won't Need To Prove COVID Vaccination Status

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- Change is on the menu for many Twin Cities restaurants, with requirements starting Wednesday for customers to either have a vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test.

However, a little-known rule is adding to confusion for spots in St. Paul.

Cecil's Deli put a sign up in its doors informing customers of the new requirements. Evana Kvasnik's family has owned Cecil's for four generations.

"A few people forgot [vaccine cards] and they ordered to-go instead, which I was really grateful for because we do need the support," Kvasnik said.

Mayor Melvin Carter's executive order states that proof of either vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours has to be shown at city-licensed businesses where food or drink is served indoors.

The order doesn't, in fact, apply to Cecil's, or most of St. Paul's restaurants.

St. Paul Restaurant COVID Vaccination Requirement
(credit: CBS)

"We had no idea," Kvasnik said.

All 754 restaurants in the city are licensed through the Minnesota Department of Health. St. Paul handles liquor licenses, so, among restaurants, only the ones that also serve alcohol must ask for vaccine cards or a negative test. This includes bars. The city estimates its order applies to only about one-third of St. Paul's restaurants.

Cecil's will decide if it'll keep its requirement.

"It's no longer a mandate, it's more like if this is something we want to do," Kvasnik said.

Minneapolis has no similar exceptions because all of its restaurants are licensed through the city.

In both of the Twin Cities, the mandates only apply to people 5 years and older.

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