ROCHESTER, Minn. - A popular watering hole in Rochester is facing another round of controversy. Olmsted County has suspended the food and beverage license of Dooley's Pub in Rochester. The decision followed the release of a Youtube video that showed people without masking pouring shots into patrons' mouths. We have an exclusive interview with Dooley's owner.
A jaw-dropping video enraged Councilmember Michael Wojcik.
"I posted that video in part because I was entrusted by a whistleblower to get the information out there," Wojcik said.
He dubs the behavior unacceptable.
"If you behave like this, you're not going to get a free pass," Wojcik said.
The video also jeopardized an establishment that has had numerous incidents requiring police visits. In July - Dooley's shut its doors after two employees tested positive for COVID-19.
"We've had a number of issues there - particularly with COVID-19 - we've had issues there," Wojcik said.
But Dooley's owner Tory Runkle is quick to point out there's more to the story.
"It was not employees, it was some friends of one of our employees, it was something that we used to do back in the day and obviously it's not allowed now," Runkle said.
Runkle says - he's already implemented new policies to make his establishment safer.
"If we close down earlier, we should be able to handle everything from here on out," Runkle said.
But Runkle is facing a lot of uncertainty - managing a business - he believes is often targeted by critics.
"If a meteor was heading towards Earth, it'd be Dooley's fault - in any case - I was the first bar to close down downtown - just because I didn't want to be the bar that was blamed for everything," Runkle said.
Wojcik wants to hold people accountable for their actions.
"We're in a pandemic! Act like it," Wojcik said.
Runkle urges everyone to keep an open mind.
"We just have to take it and try to move on," Runkle said.
Runkle tells KIMT News 3 - he was preparing for the Vikings home opener and was not there when the video was recorded. But he takes responsibility for what happened. He's hoping to open the restaurant next week. Wojcik says city staff manages the lease with Dooley's and has the authority to terminate it. He says he will be watching what happens with the lease.