Remember when your mom said, "You don't have to eat your dinner, but I'm not making you anything else," or, "You don't have to go to bed, but you can't watch television. Read a book," or, "If you miss your curfew, you are grounded for a week"? These are called consequences. Most of us learned about them as children and understand that every choice has a consequence. Now, finally, the choice to not get a vaccine has a consequence. People still have the freedom to choose to not get vaccinated, but now they can't eat out or go to a sporting event in Minneapolis or St. Paul without a negative test result ("Vaccine proof now the rule," front page, Jan. 13). Finally.
Frankly, this requirement to show proof is coming late in the game. My wife and I were in New York just before omicron hit and had to show our vaccine cards in restaurants, museums and at the theater. It was amazingly efficient and surprisingly fast. I'm sure it wasn't perfect and some people likely gamed the system. But in general, it made life feel much more normal. And if the number of people in the bars and restaurants was reduced because of the requirement, it was not noticeable. Everyone still needed to mask at shows and museums, and people were actually very good about it. Hopefully, for the sake of our restaurant industry, this won't last long. If this had happened earlier and included airlines, sporting events and any gatherings, our schools and hospitals might not be in the horrible situation they are in now.
The unvaccinated, who so loudly resisted mandates, are not forced to get vaccinated this way, but there is a consequence for their choice. If they don't die of COVID, they will also probably survive not going to restaurants for a month or so. And now, finally, maybe the vaccinated can live a little better too.
My hope is that all those who are fully vaccinated and have been resistant to going out to dinner will now go out and support their local establishments, more than making up for the people who refuse to get vaccinated.
Michael Carey, Minneapolis
I am a 36-year veteran of the restaurant business. I am battered and bruised, but I am still standing. 2020 ushered in a new and unwelcome era for our industry. COVID-19 coupled with a depleted Minneapolis Police Department and rising crime have kept customers away resulting in countless business closures and an exodus of the restaurant workforce. Multiple restrictions by the mayor's office have made the difficult job of running a bar or restaurant even harder. Cancellations came rolling in just after the mayor announced his latest mandate to require vaccination cards for all patrons.
While I think the mayor's heart is in the right place, he is clueless when it comes to the restaurant scene in Minneapolis. He says he is trying to avoid closures. I would like to invite him for a walk down Nicollet Mall so he can see what restaurant closures really look like. Mayor Jacob Frey says he wants to stay open, and we need to stay safer. Is this mandate really going to curb the spread of the virus? I have seen breakthrough infections among my co-workers for the last two months, so being vaccinated does not guarantee anything.
This mandate also puts us at a tremendous competitive disadvantage because it is just a short drive to most suburbs where there are no restrictions. And, as much as I hate to admit it, most Americans, especially rich Americans, don't like to be told what to do. This mandate keeps people from coming downtown.
If one of the goals of this mandate is to get more people vaccinated, then I propose exploring other avenues. Put an additional tax on tobacco and liquor for the unvaccinated. Or you could impose a surcharge on medical expenses for unvaccinated patients in the hospital. At the end of the day the timing of this mandate is purely reactionary, and I don't think it will do much to alleviate COVID hospitalizations. To me, and a lot people in the restaurant business, it is the equivalent of throwing a deck chair off the Titanic.
Patrick Tierney, Minneapolis
The writer is a bartender and waiter.
I, for one, will be more likely to patronize Minneapolis restaurants/bars and other establishments knowing that others are vaccinated or have provided proof of a negative test. I realize this adds to the hardships local businesses have already faced, but I'm hoping others will also feel safer and be motivated to support our still-struggling local establishments.
Sybil Axner, Minneapolis
I'm perplexed. I thought we were following the science in Minnesota. What possible benefit does showing your vaccination status at a restaurant or sporting event provide to your fellow Minnesotans? In the early days of the vaccine, when officials misinformed us that getting vaccinated meant we wouldn't get or spread coronavirus, this mandate might have made some sense. Nowadays, it is common knowledge, and very obvious to anyone paying attention, that the vaccine isn't stopping the spread of omicron from vaccinated or unvaccinated people alike. If anyone can get and spread the virus, why in the world would we enact such an ill-conceived mandate that will only hurt our already-struggling businesses and have zero effect on our pandemic numbers? We should expect our leaders to understand such a basic concept.
Jeff Schneider, Otsego
Wouldn't this hack help?
Problem: Not enough COVID testing kits.
Solution: Two asymptomatic people living together (husband and wife, for example) could insert two sampled swabs into one vial. If it comes back negative they can both be deemed to be "negative," although they have used only one kit. If it comes back positive they would both have to test separately to determine who made the joint test positive. Tell me why this wouldn't work and make it possible for a lot more people to get tested with the limited number of testing kits available.
Richard Trickel, Crosslake, Minn.
Same team as they were before
When the Wilfs bought the Vikings, I thought at the time that the motivation was to buy into the elite and exclusive club of NFL team owners, not to win Super Bowls, but to have the status, prestige and recognition of an NFL team owner. My opinion since then has not changed. In five years the Vikings will still be a middle-of-the-pack, mediocre team. The reason is that the Wilfs do not have the resources, will or passion to put a winning team on the field. This change of general manager and coach is little more than window dressing, lipstick on the pig.
Jerry L. Nowlin, Minneapolis
With all of the talk going on about who the next Vikings coach should be, we might need to look at it from a historical perspective. The top candidates might be Herb Brooks, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Wood and Jesus of Nazareth. It doesn't matter if they are on the ice, on the stage, on 34th Street or on their way to heaven, if the Vikings want to win a Super Bowl, they may need someone who can perform a miracle.
Tom Mobeck, Chaska
We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.