Health department takes regulatory action against restaurants in Monticello, Virginia, Clark's Grove and Albert Lea
Cornerstone Café & Catering, M.B.’s Little Gourmet Deli and The Pour House received cease-and-desist orders after violating executive orders designed to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19
December 28, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today announced it has issued cease-and-desist orders and notices of license suspension to Cornerstone Café & Catering in Monticello, M.B.’s Little Gourmet Deli in Virginia and The Pour House in Clark’s Grove after determining that the facilities had violated executive orders designed to protect their employees, customers and communities from the COVID-19 pandemic. The department also issued a notice of license suspension to The Interchange in Albert Lea, which had previously received a cease-and-desist order.
Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-99 on November 18, 2020 (extended by 20-103, issued on December 16). The executive order prohibits bars and restaurants from offering on-premises dining. The executive order was issued at a time of rapid acceleration in the spread of COVID-19 across Minnesota and sought to protect Minnesotans while also preventing hospitals and health care systems from becoming overwhelmed by the surge in cases.
On Dec. 18, MDH inspected Cornerstone Café & Catering in Monticello. During the inspection, MDH staff found the establishment was open for on-premises consumption in violation of Executive Order 20-99, and employees were working without masks in violation of Executive Order 20-81.
On Dec. 18, MDH inspected M.B.’s Little Gourmet Deli in Virginia. During the inspection, MDH staff found the establishment was open for on-premises consumption of food and beverage, in violation of Executive Order 20-99, and an employee was working without a mask, in violation of Executive Order 20-81.
On Dec. 19, MDH inspected The Pour House in Clark’s Grove. During the inspection, MDH staff found the establishment was open for on-premises consumption in violation of Executive Order 20-99.
On Dec. 18, MDH issued a cease-and-desist order to The Interchange in Albert Lea after finding the establishment was open for on-site consumption of food and beverages in violation of Executive Order 20-99. Dec 23, a license suspension notice was issued to the establishment.
Notices of license suspension are issued along with the cease and desist orders when an establishment has been found to be operating in violation of the executive orders.
According to MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff, enforcement actions are a last resort when it is clear that education and outreach are not sufficient to help a regulated establishment come into compliance with requirements.
“COVID-19 protocols are designed to slow the spread of this virus and reduce the impacts of this pandemic,” Huff said. “Our preference is always to work with business to bring them into compliance, and we consider regulatory actions as a last resort. The vast majority of businesses are doing their best to help slow down the spread of COVID-19, and we owe it to them to have a consistent and fair enforcement approach.”