Originally published on Aug. 20, 2021By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A downtown Minneapolis cafe will be among the first in the state to require a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination in order to dine inside.

The owners of Hark Cafe, located in the city’s North Loop neighborhood, say the decision wasn’t made overnight. They came to it after looking at similar moves made by restaurants in Los Angels, Chicago and New York.

Hark opened late last year in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cafe caters to eaters looking for vegan and gluten-free options. Beginning Tuesday, Hark will require customers to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours to eat inside. Nothing will be required for customers who want to eat outside.

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The owners say the recent surge of the Delta variant has pushed them to look at ways to keep staff and customers safe while also keeping their doors open.

“We saw what happened to restaurants when they had to close because someone on staff got COVID and got sick, or many customers got sick, and just what that can do to your business,” said Katherine Pardue, one of Hark’s co-owners. “We’re a new business, we want to stay open, and we want to stay open downtown, so it felt like a prudent business decision.”

Hark is one of the first restaurants in the state to require proof of vaccination and/or a negative test from customers to eat insdie. However, other venues in Minneapolis, such as First Avenue, also announced over the summer that they are asking similar requirements of concert-goers.