Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on May 17 announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against Shady’s, a chain of six bars and restaurants that said it plans to reopen before the state’s lockdown on hospitality businesses is lifted.
Ellison said in a statement that for Shady’s to resume operations would violate Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order (pdf), which recently extended the temporary closure of bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation until May 31. Walz noted in the order that “the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present an unprecedented and rapidly evolving challenge to our state.”
As of May 17, 15,668 Minnesotans have been diagnosed with the CCP virus, and a total of 722 Minnesotans have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Minnesota authorities are working on a plan, to be released by May 20, for a phased reopening of hospitality industry establishments starting on June 1, the order notes.
Ellison said May 17 that he filed an enforcement action (pdf) against six Shady’s bars and restaurants located in Albany, Burtrum, Cold Spring, New Munich, Rice, and St. Martin. All are located in or near Stearns County, which has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota. The lawsuit also names owner Kris Schiffler individually as a defendant.
“A handful of bar and restaurant owners have said they don’t want to wait any longer and want to reopen illegally,” Ellison said, noting that his office had contacted Schiffler, warning him that opening ahead of the to-be-released schedule “would be both dangerous to the public health and in violation of Executive Order 20-56.”
He said after initially agreeing to delay reopening, Schiffler made public statements intending to reopen despite the lockdown.
“The owner of Shady’s, however, has declared his intention to break the law and endanger his customers and employees—in Stearns County, with the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota. My office has the duty to enforce the law and the governor’s order, to protect Minnesotans’ health, and to protect businesses that are complying with the order from unfair competition. I take that duty seriously,” Ellison wrote.
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