The state of Minnesota on Sunday suspended the liquor license of Boardwalk Bar & Grill in East Grand Forks, Minn., for continuing dine-in service in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz's executive order.
The suspension, announced by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, came just days after a Polk County court closed the bar to on-site dining, despite the owner's insistence on keeping the doors open.
Judge Corey Harbott on Friday granted Attorney General Keith Ellison's motion for a temporary restraining order to prohibit the bar and grill to continue sit-down service.
On Thursday, state Department of Health officials served the bar with a cease-and-desist letter.
The bar reopened at 4 p.m. Wednesday, against Walz's executive order, which closed bars and restaurants to in-person dining in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Despite the order, more than 200 other business owners have also committed to reopening this week, according to a group called ReOpen Minnesota, which has publicly expressed support for the owner of Boardwalk Bar & Grill. The group has announced a plan for business owners to reopen starting on Wednesday, according to the group's Facebook page. The governor's four-week executive order is set to expire on Friday.
Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said that despite the financial struggles of restaurants and bars during the pandemic, the "willful disregard of the law that puts Minnesotans in danger cannot and will not be ignored."
"People's lives have to take precedent during this pandemic," he said.
Many of those in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota restaurant industry have told the Star Tribune that they feel they may never recover.