Updated: December 30, 2020 06:12 PM
Created: December 30, 2020 03:18 PM
Several bars and restaurants across Minnesota are facing penalties for openly defying the governor's executive order. Some of those businesses could also face legal consequences.
Under Executive Order 20-99 (as modified and extended by Executive Order 20-103), the Attorney General's office has filed nine lawsuits against establishments that opened in intentional violation of the executive orders: eight bar/restaurants and one gym.
The Attorney General's office has also assisted the Minnesota Department of Health in the one lawsuit it has filed against a bar/restaurant.
Those facing legal action are:
“Despite our efforts to gain voluntary compliance, they have defied court order, and the court order has the force of law,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Earlier this month, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS interviewed Lisa Zarza, co-owner at “Alibi Drinkery” in Lakeville, as they attempted to stay open.
"We have had overwhelming response from hundreds and hundreds of people across the state of Minnesota across the country to keep the fight up,” said Zarza, on Dec.16.
But soon after that, Ellison’s office swooped in, saying the state means business when it comes to enforcing the law to stop the spread of the virus.
They were slapped with a notice for an intent to suspend their liquor license for 60 days.
Ellison’s office has also given warnings to about 900 businesses that made similar attempts to stay open.
“But the biggest thing that people need to worry about is not the Attorney General's Office or the Department of Health. It is the coronavirus,” said Ellison. “They know that by defying the executive order, they're exposing their patrons, their customers, and their staff to a lethal illness.”
There are no records currently of any twin cities restaurants being cited for attempting to defy the orders.
Ellison is reminding restaurant owners that there are better ways to handle business, including applying for state or federal aid.
“I want people to know that the state legislature passed over $216-billion in relief aid to you. Please contact the proper authorities to get that money, so that you can keep going.”
Ellison also says in situations where restaurants are defying the executive order, the state could also seek to take their profits during that timeframe.
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