Court orders Clarks Grove restaurant to halt indoor on-premises dining, comply with executive orders

Attorney General’s office wins temporary restraining order against Pour House; establishment must now comply or risk being found in contempt of court

December 28, 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 Pour House in Clarks Grove. On Monday, December 21, Attorney General Ellison’s office sued Pour House 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 a temporary restraining order to prevent Pour House from further violating the order and to compel it to comply with the order and any future applicable executive orders.

In granting the order, the court wrote, “There is good cause to believe the State will prevail on the merits of its claims that Defendant is violating and about to further violate Modified Executive Order 20-99.” The court ordered that Cornerstone is “prevented, restrained, and enjoined from taking any action violating Executive Order 20-99, as modified and extended by Executive Order 20-103, including but not limited to offering indoor on-premises consumption of food or beverages and allowing more than five members of the public inside its restaurant at one time,” and that it “shall fully comply with Executive Order 20-99, as extended and modified by Executive Order 20-103, and any future 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.

Pour House must now comply with the orders or risk being found in contempt of court.

“Yet another court has 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 have done the right thing and met 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.