Court closes gym that put community at risk by staying open in violation of executive order

Wabasha County court grants Attorney General Ellison’s motion for temporary injunction; gym to temporarily close as required by Executive Order 20-99

December 2, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Wabasha County District Court today issued a temporary injunction that will close a Wabasha County gym, Plainview Wellness Center, that had put the community at risk by refusing to comply with Governor Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-99 to temporarily close its operations for four weeks in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office, which is charged with enforcing the executive order, filed a lawsuit and motion for a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction last Wednesday to prohibit Plainview Wellness Center from remaining open to the public. In issuing the temporary injunction, the court ordered that Plainview Wellness Center must close to the public or any of its members through December 18, 2020 in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 20-99, as well as comply with Executive Order 20-99 and any future relevant executive orders for the duration of the litigation. 

Executive Order 20-99 dials back certain high-risk activities, including temporarily closing gyms, fitness centers, and recreations centers, that data show have contributed to community spread of COVID-19. As of today, more than 327,000 Minnesotans have contracted COVID-19 — including more than 1,000 in Wabasha County — and more than 3,600 have died from the deadly virus. Nearly 14 million Americans have contracted COVID-19, and more than 270,000 have died from it. That is nearly five times the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War. 

“I’m glad the court recognized the seriousness of the pandemic and the firm legal foundation of the State’s efforts to halt the spread of it,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is everyone’s responsibility. I thank the vast majority of Minnesota businesses that have complied with executive orders and done their part to stop it, and it’s my hope that all businesses will understand their responsibility to comply. I recognize the sacrifice that most businesses have made: they deserve assistance, not unfair competition.” 

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).