MN Dept of Health to Increase Compliance Checks for Bars & Restaurants

From the Minnesota Departments of Public Safety, Health and Labor and Industry posted 8/27/2020…

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Dear hospitality industry association representative,

As you know, Minnesota businesses are required to follow federal and state guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety and health of their employees and their customers. Most establishments are following federal and state guidelines, but it makes it difficult for them to compete or to explain to their customers when other establishments are not in compliance.

We owe it to the establishments that are following the guidelines to address these issues of noncompliance. We all need to do our part to help slow or reduce the spread of COVID-19, which will allow businesses to remain open and set our schools up for success. That’s why Minnesota public safety and health officials will conduct increased compliance checks at bars and restaurants throughout Minnesota in the coming weeks, beginning August 28.

Teams from the Minnesota Departments of Public Safety (DPS), Health (MDH) and Labor and Industry (DLI) will visit multiple establishments each weekend. These visits will focus on compliance with Executive Order 20-74, Executive Order 20-54 and Executive Order 20-81, which promote public health and address worker safety and health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This additional enforcement effort is in response to concerns that have been raised by compliant establishments and customers about places where people gather without complying with requirements such as face covering requirements, adherence to social distancing, tables less than six feet apart and establishments serving to more than 50 percent capacity.

What establishments can expect

  • Investigators with the DPS Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division will specifically be looking for employees and customers violating mask requirements, adherence to social distancing, tables less than six feet apart, party size limits of four per table or six if immediate family members, signs communicating face covering requirements, reservation protocols, employee health screening protocols and establishments serving to more than 50 percent capacity. Violations could lead to fines or loss of an establishment liquor license.
  • MDH is working in conjunction with DPS and DLI on these investigations. Findings of noncompliance may result in MDH ordering the establishment to close or issuing fines. In addition to these increased compliance efforts, MDH continues to investigate complaints regarding violations of executive orders in hospitality businesses, which may also include closure of the establishment and fines.
  • DLI is also working with DPS and MDH on these investigations. Noncompliance that presents potential worker safety or health hazards will be referred to Minnesota OSHA Compliance at DLI. Minnesota OSHA will assess referrals and determine how to best respond, including conducting a workplace investigation which may result in citations, penalties or temporary closure orders.
  • The results of the compliance checks will be shared with you and made publicly available the following week.
  • Businesses in Minnesota are required to create and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that follows guidelines based on their specific industry. Plan templates and guidelines can be found at the Stay Safe Minnesota website (

If you have questions about these compliance checks, contact the appropriate state agency.

  • Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, call 651-201-7500.
  • Minnesota Department of Health: For questions about COVID-19 and guidance for businesses, call 651-297-1304.
  • Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry: For workplace safety and health questions, call Minnesota OSHA at 651-284-5050 or email [email protected].

We want all students to be able to attend school in person and our businesses and institutions to remain open. But, establishments that allow large groups of people to gather in unsafe numbers and disregard safety precautions, such as not practicing social distancing or requiring masks, pose a risk to those goals. We are asking you to reinforce these measures with your members and encourage them to comply with the executive orders listed above.


John Harrington, DPS Commissioner
Jan K. Malcolm, MDH Commissioner
Roslyn Robertson, DLI Temporary Commissioner