An Albert Lea restaurant will have to pay $3,000 every day it is open for indoor dining after it violated Gov. Tim Walz's orders closing indoor dining in Minnesota.
The Freeborn County District Court found the Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro in contempt of court for violating a restraining order it issued back in December that required the restaurant to close indoor and on-premises dining, according to a news release issued Friday by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office.
The court ordered Interchange to pay a fine of $3,000 every day it is open for indoor dining and to comply with future executive orders.
On its website, Interchange says it is open for indoor dining. It has been open for in-person dining since Walz's order in November shutting down indoor dining, closed only on Christmas and New Year's Day.
The Attorney General's Office sued the restaurant on Dec. 21, and a temporary restraining order was issued on Dec. 23.
A call to the restaurant was not returned Friday evening.
On Thursday, a Dakota County judge found the owners of the Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville in contempt of court for remaining open despite the order. It, too, will have to pay a fine of $3,000 for every day it allows indoor dining.
"I'm glad to see serious consequences for defying the court and endangering Minnesotans," Attorney General Keith Ellison said in Friday's news release. "The vast majority of Minnesota bars and restaurants are complying with the law and meeting their responsibility to keep their communities safe. The very small handful that are not should take note that their willful defiance has real-world consequences, as it should."
Starting Monday, restaurants and bars will be able to open for indoor dining at 50% capacity.
Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759