Monticello restaurant settles lawsuit over violations of COVID restrictions, pays $10K made during violations

Tuesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the state has reached a settlement with a Monticello restaurant over violations of COVID-19 restrictions.

Ellison said Cornerstone Cafe resolved the lawsuit over violations of the ban on indoor, on-premises dining by pledging to fully comply with current and future executive orders pertaining to bars and restaurants and by paying the state $10,000 — the profits the restaurant made while operating in violation of the orders.

Ellison’s office said Cornerstone can be held liable for a $25,000 fine if it violates any terms of the agreement. He also noted the funds in the settlement go to the state’s General Fund, not his office.

Several bars, restaurants outside of Twin Cities face penalties and possible legal trouble after defiance of order

"I thank this establishment for agreeing to meet its responsibility to help all Minnesotans stop the spread of COVID-19 and congratulate it on rejoining the vast majority of Minnesota bars and restaurants that are already doing so," Ellison said. "It brings me no joy to bring enforcement actions, because our top priority has always been education and voluntary compliance and enforcement has always been a last resort. Today’s settlement can be a sign to the very small handful of establishments that are violating the executive orders that compliance is still available to them."

Cornerstone was initially sued by Ellison’s office on Dec. 18 for openly violating executive orders on indoor dining. A temporary restraining order was granted by a judge on Dec. 22.