Ellison files lawsuits against Anoka, Monticello restaurants for violating COVID-19 restrictions

Friday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced his office has filed lawsuits against two more restaurants — one in Monticello, one in Anoka — for violating COVID-19 restrictions.

Ellison’s office said Cornerstone Cafe, in Monticello, and Cork, in Anoka, had been operating on-premises in violation of Executive Order 20-99, which expires Friday night. However, Executive Order 20-103 extends those restrictions through Jan. 10.

Cornerstone Cafe’s owner refused multiple attempts of contact by Ellison’s office and said on social media that he didn’t intend to respond to them, Ellison said.

Meanwhile, Cork told Ellison’s office that it also intended to continue violating the restrictions and have on-premises dining.

4 Minnesota bar and grills have liquor licenses suspended for violating COVID restrictions

"There are 10,000 restaurants and 1,500 bars in Minnesota. By far the vast majority of them have served their communities by complying with the law all along," Ellison said in a statement. "Of the few that have threatened not to comply and the even fewer that violated the law, many have already pulled back. The two restaurants that we’re holding accountable today are among the very few that have refused to live up to their responsibility to keep their customers, employees, and communities safe."

He added, "Once again, I’m asking all restaurants and bars to do the right thing and comply with the law and orders that are designed to stop the spread of COVID-19. I don’t enjoy using the enforcement tools I have available because I’d much prefer people do the right thing on their own, but I will use them when I have no other choice to protect Minnesotans from this deadly virus."

The lawsuits ask the court to stop the restaurants from violating the state’s orders and potentially impose civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation.