Push to allow in-person dining at Minnesota restaurants grows | KSTP.com

Push to allow in-person dining at Minnesota restaurants grows

Updated: January 04, 2021 07:02 AM
Created: January 04, 2021 05:44 AM

It's been more than a month since Gov. Tim Walz’s pause on indoor dining took effect.

Sunday, hundreds showed up in Albert Lea, urging the state to allow local establishments to re-open.

Monday is the deadline some GOP lawmakers have set for the governor to announce whether he'll be lifting those restrictions.

In a radio interview on Friday, the governor said he expects to give an update Tuesday or Wednesday.

However, a couple of GOP lawmakers said they want Walz to make the call Monday to allow dine-in service. They say this would give businesses a week to prepare if Walz lifts the current round of restrictions, which are set to expire next Monday.

Over the weekend, Albert Lea was home to the most recent protest against those restrictions.

One of its local coffee shops, The Interchange, is a business that has allowed customers to dine-in. Its owner is well aware of the legal action that can be taken, but she's had enough.

"So what, everything they're throwing at us is just not going to hold water because it is unlawful,”  owner Lisa Hansen said.

She's not alone. Another well-known spot that has defied the order is Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office has been aware of those actions and states some businesses could face up to five years with a suspended liquor license.

Lakeville, Albert Lea businesses facing 5-year liquor license revocation for COVID-19 violations

"They know that by defying the executive order that they're exposing their patrons, customers, and staff to a lethal illness,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said. “I am constitutionally obligated to do my job.”

In the radio interview on Friday, Walz did say the state has made progress and that he's encouraged by the decrease in COVID numbers in the state.

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