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St. Paul business owner asks for grace ahead of new mask mandate

"We shutdown for the busiest weekend of the year and cost ourselves about a quarter of a million dollars so we could make sure our restaurants are safe..."

ST PAUL, Minn. — As COVID cases surge in Minnesota, the mayors of both Minneapolis and St. Paul are reinstating mask mandates. Both go into effect Thursday.

If the last couple of years have felt like a blur, you're not alone. 

"Two years is a long time to be going through this," said Brian Ingram, CEO of Purpose Driven Restaurants. 

This recent spike forced restaurateurs like Ingram to shutdown operations last week, after several of his employees tested positive. 

"We shutdown for the busiest weekend of the year and cost ourselves about a quarter of a million dollars so we could make sure our restaurants are safe and get all of our staff tested," said Ingram. 

In these latest mandates, masks will be required at several public indoor locations including bars, restaurants, schools, and sporting venues. 

Both the Vikings and the Wild announced mask requirements in compliance with the local mandates. 

"Definitely not surprised," said Ingram. 

Which is why Ingram and many others find themselves once again taking extra precautions to combat this recent spread. 

"We've got rapid COVID tests to test our staff more often. It may be that we start mandating literally COVID tests on a weekly basis. We're going to do everything we can," said Ingram. 

It's another round of safety measures which can be stressful to enforce for those in the service industry. 

"When you start telling guest that they have to mask up they get offended and a lot of times they think it's your personal standing," said Ingram. 

Though we may find ourselves here again, Ingram is hopeful the lessons we've learned these last two years will carry us to the end. 

"We hope that guests will still come out and support businesses. We hope that people have grace when they're doing it," said Ingram. 

The mandates go into effect Thursday at 5 p.m. in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

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