Attorney General Ellison acts to enforce Executive Order 20-99

Files lawsuit and restraining order against non-compliant Wabasha County fitness center that has remained open to the public and refused to close, putting community at risk

November 25, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) – Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that his office has filed a lawsuit and motion for a temporary restraining order to prohibit a Wabasha County gym, Plainview Wellness Center, from remaining open to the public, as required under Governor Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-99. Among the requirements of the executive order — a targeted, four-week dial-back of certain activities to halt the spread of COVID-19 — are that gyms and venues hosting indoor events must close until December 18, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Attorney General Ellison’s office has civil authority to enforce that prohibition and seek relief if necessary.  

The Attorney General’s Office first reached out to Plainview Wellness Center to educate the management on the requirements of Executive Order 20-99. In response, management threatened to continue to operate and stay open to the public in violation of the Order’s requirements, thereby potentially exposing more Minnesotans to community spread of COVID-19. 

“Governor Walz has made the tough but smart choice to dial back activities that data have shown spread COVID-19,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I know these requirements are hard on folks — but fortunately, the vast majority of people and businesses affected are making that sacrifice and complying with the order, because they know we’re all responsible for stopping the spread of COVID. I’d much rather that everyone comply — but when it’s necessary to go to court to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect compliant businesses from unfair competition, I won’t hesitate to do so. 

“I remind everyone that COVID-19 is deadly serious: it doesn’t care who you are, where you live, or how you contract it. More than 10 million Americans, including more than 275,000 Minnesotans, have already suffered from it, some with long-lasting consequences. More 250,000 Americans, including more than 3,000 Minnesotans and my own mother, have already died from it,” Attorney General Ellison continued. “No one is immune from COVID-19, but we all have the power to stop it.”  

This is the first enforcement action the Attorney General’s office has brought under Executive Order 20-99. Of the more than 100 businesses and events that the Attorney General’s office and its partners at the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Labor and Industry have worked with to gain compliance with requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19, today’s lawsuit represents only the third enforcement action the State has needed to bring.  

Attorney General Ellison reminds Minnesotans that they can report COVID-19-related concerns or complaints either through the dedicated COVID-19 online complaint form on his website or by calling his office at (651) 296-3353 (Metro area) or (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota). 

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