State files lawsuits against Freeborn County businesses over COVID violations

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. AP image

Seeking penalties of up to $25,000.

Posted: Dec 21, 2020 3:10 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – State lawsuits have now been filed against two Freeborn County businesses for violating Governor Walz’ COVID restrictions.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says his office has filed suit against The Interchange in Albert Lea, the Pour House in Clarks Grove, as well as St. Patrick’s Tavern in New Prague. In announcing the lawsuits, Ellison stated:

- The State has received more than a dozen complaints about Pour House, including a report that noted the bar was operating at “max capacity.” Public social-media posts show patrons sitting shoulder-to-shoulder at the bar, and no face coverings worn by any employee or customer.

- The Interchange announced on December 15, 2020, that it would open for “IN-DOOR DINING… in defiance of the governor’s order.” On December 17, The Interchange held an indoor concert. By December 18, the Minnesota Department of Health had served a cease-and-desist order on the Interchange, but a representative of the restaurant vowed that it would continue to allow on-site dining. The restaurant was still open on December 19.

“There are 10,000 restaurants and 1,500 bars in Minnesota. By far the vast majority of them have served their communities by complying with the law all along,” says Ellison. “Unfortunately, a very small handful are threatening their customers, their workers, and their communities by refusing to comply and violating the law. Their insistence on violating the law is simply prolonging the pain of the pandemic for everyone.”

Ellison says his lawsuits asked the court to:

- Declare that defendants’ actions constitute violations of Executive Order 20-99;
- Stop anyone associated with these establishments from violating or threatening to violate the executive orders;
- Award restitution, disgorgement, or damages to the State;
- Impose civil penalties of up to $25,000 for each violation or threatened violation of the executive order;
- Award the State its costs; and
- Impose any other relief the court finds just.

“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: they deserve our thanks and our patronage, not unfair competition,” says Ellison. “I don’t enjoy using the enforcement tools I have available because I’d much prefer all establishments do the right thing on their own, but I will continue to use them when I have no other choice to protect Minnesotans from this deadly virus.”

A post to the Facebook page of The Interchange states:

“As American-loving Patriots we all know why we’re doing this. It’s not only about the Interchange. It’s not only about our wonderful staff. It’s not only about our beloved patrons. It’s certainly not about my “paycheck” because in the 7 years I’ve owned this business I’ve never taken a cent."

"What this IS about: Our Constitutional rights as individuals. This is about our rights to freely invite friends and family into our homes, to freely operate businesses, to freely go where we want, when we want, to freely choose to attend church, to freely choose whether we wear a mask or not, to freely choose to take a vaccine or not. Etc etc etc.”

“This is for our children’s and grandchildren’s freedoms and liberties! This is for their future! God bless the U.S.A. and God bless the citizens of this great republic!”

Lisa Hanson
Owner, Proprietor and Patriot

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 556381

Reported Deaths: 7098
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1158471682
Ramsey47939856
Dakota42586422
Anoka38655415
Washington24993274
Stearns21052219
St. Louis16821298
Scott16013117
Wright14818127
Olmsted1276297
Sherburne1064880
Carver984945
Clay783490
Rice7649101
Blue Earth698640
Kandiyohi628181
Crow Wing618186
Chisago550650
Otter Tail543973
Benton532297
Mower451132
Goodhue444172
Douglas442870
Winona438649
Nobles400648
Morrison396059
McLeod395255
Isanti378259
Itasca373653
Beltrami372957
Polk366067
Steele364014
Becker356048
Lyon348648
Carlton329452
Freeborn328129
Pine312321
Nicollet307542
Brown294739
Mille Lacs282150
Le Sueur270822
Todd268830
Cass250426
Meeker237437
Waseca231421
Martin213429
Wabasha19953
Roseau197818
Renville172543
Hubbard172341
Dodge17193
Redwood166335
Houston162614
Cottonwood157021
Fillmore15179
Pennington151019
Chippewa146537
Wadena144621
Faribault144019
Sibley136410
Kanabec131721
Aitkin128736
Watonwan12569
Rock123019
Jackson117410
Yellow Medicine110819
Pipestone109926
Pope10306
Murray10269
Swift100018
Marshall85617
Stevens82210
Lake78419
Clearwater77814
Koochiching77313
Wilkin77012
Lac qui Parle73622
Big Stone5644
Lincoln5592
Grant5498
Norman5229
Mahnomen5088
Unassigned50378
Kittson46822
Red Lake3877
Traverse3605
Lake of the Woods3073
Cook1460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 358085

Reported Deaths: 5821
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56023604
Linn20310330
Scott19111234
Black Hawk15560306
Woodbury14906221
Johnson1405881
Dubuque13162202
Dallas1090196
Pottawattamie10763162
Story1031547
Warren555686
Clinton537790
Cerro Gordo522986
Webster508391
Sioux506673
Marshall477274
Muscatine460796
Des Moines441965
Wapello4254120
Buena Vista421940
Jasper407670
Plymouth397479
Lee368555
Marion354575
Jones293155
Henry286337
Bremer279360
Carroll279351
Crawford261840
Boone258833
Benton250355
Washington249550
Dickinson242343
Mahaska224850
Jackson218242
Kossuth213063
Clay211225
Tama206671
Delaware203039
Winneshiek194433
Page190421
Buchanan188831
Cedar184423
Fayette183041
Wright180435
Hardin179942
Hamilton178149
Harrison176473
Clayton167155
Butler162534
Mills158720
Cherokee157138
Floyd155442
Lyon154841
Madison154119
Poweshiek152733
Allamakee149151
Iowa145524
Hancock143734
Winnebago136131
Grundy135332
Cass134654
Calhoun133211
Jefferson131035
Emmet128740
Shelby128637
Sac127319
Louisa127249
Appanoose126647
Mitchell125341
Union124132
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie117929
Franklin112821
Palo Alto111022
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10050
Clarke98323
Keokuk94730
Monroe94128
Ida89733
Adair84532
Pocahontas83721
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75516
Lucas74923
Worth7098
Taylor65312
Fremont6139
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4939
Adams3284
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