Courts order Albert Lea, New Prague establishments to halt indoor on-premises dining, comply with executive orders
Courts grant Attorney General’s motions for temporary restraining orders; The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro and St. Patrick’s Tavern and Restaurant must now comply or risk being found in contempt of court
December 23, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that Freeborn County District Court has granted his office’s motion for a temporary restraining order against The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro in Albert Lea and Scott County District Court has granted his office’s motion for a temporary restraining order against St. Patrick’s Tavern and Restaurant in New Prague.
Both courts ordered that the establishments are “prevented, restrained, and enjoined from taking any action violating” Executive Orders 20-99 and 20-103,” and that they “shall fully comply with” the orders and “any future Executive Orders... that apply to restaurants and/or bars, while those Executive Orders are effective.”
The Interchange and St. Patrick’s must now comply with the orders or risk being found in contempt of court.
On Monday, December 21, Attorney General Ellison’s office sued both establishments for openly violating the ban on indoor on-premises dining in Governor Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-99. On Tuesday, December 22, the Attorney General’s office filed for temporary restraining orders to prevent The Interchange and St. Patrick’s from further violating the order and to compel them to comply with the order and any future applicable executive orders.
Executive Order 20-99 is a targeted dial-back of certain activities to halt the spread of COVID-19. Among the requirements of the executive order, as modified and extended by Executive Order 20-103, are that bars and restaurants must close for on-premises indoor dining until January 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.
“Two more courts have recognized the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the firm legal foundation of the State’s legitimate interest in putting a stop to it,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I thank the thousands of Minnesota bars and restaurants that are doing the right thing and meeting their responsibility to their communities by continuing to follow the law. A handful are choosing to ignore their responsibility: by so doing, they’re simply extending the pain the pandemic has already wrought upon all of us.
“We’re continuing to seek voluntarily compliance from all establishments affected by the executive orders. Enforcement action is a last resort, but I will not hesitate to use it when I have no other choice to protect Minnesotans from this deadly virus,” Attorney General Ellison concluded.