MDH suspends licenses of 2 restaurants after violating COVID-19 executive orders

The Minnesota Department of Health suspended two restaurants’ licenses on Tuesday after determining that the facilities had violated executive orders designed to protect their employees, customers and communities from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to MDH, Patrick McGovern’s pub in St. Paul had its license suspended and Norm’s Wayside in Buffalo had its license suspended and received a cease-and-desist order.

Gov. Tim Walz issued the executive order on Nov. 18 that prohibits bars and restaurants from offering on-premises dining. The executive order was issued at a time of rapid acceleration in the spread of COVID-19 across Minnesota and sought to protect Minnesotans while also preventing hospitals and health care systems from becoming overwhelmed by the surge in cases.

As of Dec. 18, at 11:59 p.m., restaurants and bars could resume outdoor dining at 50% capacity, with a maximum of 100 people, with some additional restrictions. While up to five customers at a time may step inside briefly to pick up takeout, indoor dining remains closed to the public.

On Dec. 26, MDH inspected Norm’s Wayside in Buffalo. During the inspection, MDH staff found the establishment was open for indoor on-site food and/or beverage consumption, in violation of executive order and employees were working without masks, in violation of another executive order. A cease-and-desist and license suspension notice were served on Dec. 30.

On Dec. 28, MDH inspected Patrick McGovern’s Pub in St. Paul. During the inspection, MDH staff also found the establishment was open for on-site food and/or beverage consumption, violating the executive order. According to MDH, customers were served in a patio area that has retractable walls and a ceiling that opens to the outdoors; however, the walls and ceiling were closed, therefore allowing customers to dine indoors. A 60-day license suspension notice was served on Dec. 29. A cease-and-desist order was not issued because the establishment closed the patio to become compliant.

Gov. Walz is expected to announce an ease back of COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants and other locations on Wednesday.

Walz to announce loosening of restrictions on indoor dining, other settings on Wednesday