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200 people rally in Albert Lea to protest bar's possible liquor license suspension

The Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro reopened on Dec. 16, defying the governor's executive order.

A bar in Albert Lea that is facing a five-year liquor license suspension after violating Minnesota's COVID-19 order organized a rally to protest the action by the state. 

The Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro is among the establishments that continue to defy Gov. Tim Walz's executive order. 

And on Sunday, about 200 people marched in downtown Albert Lea to protest the possible liquor license suspension and the governor's orders, according to the Albert Lea Tribune.

The Interchange's Facebook page said the "We the people" march went from Albert Lea City Hall to the Freeborn County courthouse Sunday afternoon. 

"We the people have come together from near and far for one purpose: to take back our liberties and freedoms, our lawful and constitutional rights as Americans," Lisa Hanson, the owner of the Interchange, told the Albert Lea Tribune. 

The Interchange reopened in defiance of the governor's executive order on Dec. 16 and has continued to operate, serving food and beverages to patrons. This has resulted in Attorney General Keith Ellison filing a temporary restraining order against the restaurant and a district court judge ordered that all indoor dining be halted. Now, the bar is facing a five-year liquor license suspension.

Hanson told WCCO that they're staying open to make money to pay the bills.

“We’re well aware of what the consequences could be,” Hanson told the news station. “Either I closed permanently or I opened fully, so I opened fully … and yes, I knew the risks going into that.”

Before The Interchange's liquor license can be suspended for five years, Hanson gets a court hearing. 

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