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Banned Drive-Thrus Now Embraced by Minneapolis Mayor Frey in Coronavirus Crisis

What a difference a real public health crisis makes, as opposed to the manufactured imminent threat to our collective survival from climate change. Last fall Minneapolis elected officials banned new drive-thru windows for restaurants and businesses in a virtue-signaling move aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint 80 percent by 2050, due to the dire threat from global warming. Only weeks ago the city was touting its role as the biggest city in the nation yet to ban new drive-thrus in media outlets like MPR.

Council president Lisa Bender says the city had already been limiting them.

“We’ve already restricted drive-throughs over the years in a number of ways, through pedestrian-oriented overlay districts and other tools. There’s a map included in the materials allowed today and it’s actually quite limited today, but this just says that we will not have any new drive-thrus in the future,” [Minneapolis City Council  President Lisa] Bender said.

The city council and mayor went ahead with the ban on new drive-thrus anyway, despite concerns raised over the impact on residents with disabilities and the significant impact on business, noted by the Star Tribune.

Margot Imdieke Cross, a member of the advisory committee who uses a wheelchair and drives a van, said drive-through ATMs are sometimes the only way for people with mobility limitations to withdraw money during the winter.

“Drive-throughs are very important for many people with mobility issues and seniors,” she said in an interview. “The city of Minneapolis has to recognize that there are different groups in this community. We have different concerns and we all need to be represented.”

But it turns out drive-thru windows could play a key role in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that presents a bona fide immediate danger to our health and well-being. Rather than any discussion of shutting down drive-thrus along with other businesses, city officials suddenly apparently view them as an asset. There’s no mention of the environmental threat posed by the facilities in the announcement carried in the Star Tribune.

Restaurants and bars in Minneapolis must close all but their takeout, delivery or drive-through service starting Tuesday afternoon after Mayor Jacob Frey declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak…

Starting at noon Tuesday, Minneapolis will limit access to bars, restaurants and coffee shops within the city. “Operations will be limited to delivery, takeout and drive-through orders,” Frey’s office said in a statement.

Let’s just hope Frey’s emergency directive covers the COVID-19 testing drive-thrus that have sprung up in Rochester and other cities.

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