Two Minnesota bars that opened Wednesday in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz's statewide ban on dine-in service have now been sued by Attorney General Keith Ellison.
The lawsuits against Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville and Neighbors on the Rum in Princeton were filed after both establishments willfully opened and publicized allowing customers inside at a time when such business is banned due to the threat of COVID-19 spreading.
Ellison announced the lawsuit saying Alibi Drinkery "proudly announced its dangerous decision to increase the risk of community spread of COVID-19 in its community, recording multiple videos of its violations and promising to pack more people into enclosed indoor spaces in a period where the virus is still spreading throughout the state."
Ellison said the bar's owner stated that she would "see them in court." The bar had its liquor license suspended Wednesday, though Alibi Drinkery is again open for business Thursday with its Facebook page noting that a hearing needs to be set before its license is officially suspended.
"OPEN TODAY. COME IN FOR FOOD AND DRINKS!" the Facebook post says.
Ellison is suing Neighbors on the Rum in Princeton after it had 40-50 people inside on Wednesday night. The attorney general claims the bar was confronted by local police but continued to "willfully" defy the executive order, which has been in place since Nov. 18 and on Wednesday was extended until Jan. 11.
Ellison accused Neighbors on the Rum of seating people "closer than six feet apart," though the bar's Facebook page announced Wednesday that it was still requiring masks and social distancing.
In a Thursday announcement, Neighbors on the Rum posted to social media saying it has gone back to curbside pick-up "while we explore our legal options," adding that police and members of the Minnesota Health Department "entered our business without masks" on Wednesday.
"Please support our takeout business and leave a good tip to my ladies trying to give their kids a good Christmas and pay their bills," the owner wrote on Facebook. "They won this battle however we will win this war on our rights."