Minnesota regulators notified three more restaurants Saturday of plans to suspend their liquor licenses for bucking Gov. Tim Walz's COVID-19 order to close.
The Interchange in Albert Lea, Cornerstone in Monticello and the Pour House in Clarks Grove now face 60-day suspensions pending a hearing before an administrative judge. They join four other establishments — Boardwalk Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks, Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville, Mission Tavern in Merrifield and Neighbors on the Rum in Princeton — facing similar suspensions for violating Walz's executive order.
Violators could face a five-year liquor license suspension by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division.
Owners of restaurants and bars around the state mounted a small insurrection against the restrictions that keep their establishments off limits to in-person service.
While the standoff between restaurants and the governor has, for some, become political, many of the owners have cited financial survivability as the prime driver. Bobby Martin, owner of Cork, told the Star Tribune on Friday that his decision to defy the order wasn't to prove a point. It is purely practical, he said, as the menu on his 13-table restaurant isn't conducive for takeout.
Attorney General Keith Ellison filed lawsuits against four of the eateries, including Cork, Thursday and Friday. The state Health Department filed a cease-and-desist order against the Interchange in Albert Lea on Friday, the same day a Dakota County District Court granted a temporary restraining order against Alibi Drinkery.
Staff writer James Walsh contributed to this report.
Kristen Leigh Painter • 612-673-4767