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Court orders Lakeville establishment to comply with executive order requiring temporary closure for indoor on-premises dining

Court: Alibi’s actions ‘are both against the law and harmful…directly promoting the spread of Covid-19’; finds Alibi’s arguments ‘without merit and devoid of factual or legal support’

 

January 4, 2021



Must comply with order to remain closed for indoor on-premises dining or risk being found in contempt of court, liquor license being revoked by DPS

December 31, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that Dakota County District Court has granted his office’s motion for a temporary injunction against Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville, which the State has sued for violating the ban on indoor, on-premises dining in Governor Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-99. The order converts the temporary restraining order that the court previously granted on December 18 into a temporary injunction that will remain in effect for the duration of the State’s lawsuit.

Alibi Drinkery must comply with the temporary injunction to temporarily remain closed for indoor, on-premises dining through January 10, 2021 or risk being found in civil contempt of court. Non-compliance with the Court’s temporary injunction order could also result in its liquor license being revoked by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

In today’s order, the court wrote:

Freedom means to most Americans the ability to do what we want subject to two simple limitations: first, that our activities are legal and second what we are doing doesn’t cause harm to others. The actions of the Defendant in this time of unprecedented disease transmission, illness, and death are both against the law and harmful. Their blatant and intentional defiance of the law is directly promoting the spread of Covid-19, exposing their customers and employees to disease. Further this transmission immediately becomes the problem of others in the health care system, compounded in its effect by being brought home, to work, etc. In addition, they are exploiting the good conduct of others in the community who are following the law.

The court wrote that Alibi’s arguments “are without merit and devoid of factual or legal support.”

“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. An 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.

On December 17, 2020, Attorney General Ellison’s office filed a lawsuit against Alibi Drinkery for multiple alleged violations of the temporary ban on on-premises dining in Executive Order 20-99, a targeted, four-week dial-back of certain activities to halt the spread of COVID-19. Executive Order 20-103 amended and extended the provisions of Executive Order 20-99 until January 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

There are approximately 10,000 restaurants and 1,500 bars in Minnesota. Together, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and the Minnesota Department of Health have filed a total 11 lawsuits against establishments that have violated Executive Orders 20-99 and 20-103. Today marks the fifth temporary injunction that a court has issued against an establishment violating the orders. In addition, courts have granted temporary restraining orders each time the State has moved for one.

Attorney General Ellison’s office is continuing to work closely with state agencies and local law enforcement to seek voluntary compliance with the executive orders. The Attorney General’s office and its partners have a range of enforcement tools at their disposal, including criminal sanctions by local law enforcement, to hold businesses, their owners, and agents accountable for violating the order.

 

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