Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Albert Lea bar plans COVID relief-funded party for Friday night, faces $9K fine

The Interchange is throwing a "Nail it to the Walz' Reopen MN Party" on Friday night.

The Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro in Albert Lea is facing a $9,000 fine for a party it plans to host in violation of Gov. Tim Walz's executive orders. 

At the "'Nail it to the Walz' Reopen MN Party", the restaurant says there will be live music, as well as free food and drinks paid for using the COVID-19 relief check it recently got from the state, which is designed to help businesses survive the state-ordered COVID shutdowns. 

The bar has been advertising the upcoming party on Facebook this week, which Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a news release Thursday will violate Executive Order 21-01, which requires reservations and that restaurants close by 10 p.m.

Because The Interchange is threatening to violate the executive order, it is in contempt of court, the release said, so the court has imposed a fine of $9,000 ($3,000 a day for violations on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday). 

“It’s sad to see an establishment with so little concern for the health of its customers, employees, and community,” Ellison said in a statement. “More than 2,500 households in Freeborn County alone have been hurt by the deadly COVID-19 virus — and as the number continues to rise, this establishment keeps breaking the law and the executive orders that are designed to prevent suffering and death. 

"I will not hesitate to continue to use all the tools I have to keep Minnesotans safe," Ellison added.

This isn't The Interchange's first time violating the governor's orders

On Dec. 21, 2020, Ellison's office sued The Interchange for violating the state's ban on indoor dining at restaurants. The next day, Ellison's office filed for a temporary restraining order to prevent the restaurant from further violating executive orders, which Freeborn County District Court granted. 

Then on Jan. 8, the court found The Interchange in civil contempt of court and ordered the restaurant to pay $3,000 per day for each day it continued to violate any executive orders. 

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

At a hearing on Thursday, it issued the aforementioned $9,000 fine for the planned party, as well as changed the temporary restraining order into a temporary injunction. This move requires the restaurant to fully comply with all executive orders for during of the state's lawsuit against The Interchange. 

The Interchange also faces a possible liquor license suspension from the state for defying the governor's executive orders. 

Here's a list of businesses the state has taken action against for violating COVID rules. 

Next Up

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.

_DSC0318

Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

chad davis arradondo flickr

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo to retire next month

He's overseen the MPD since mid-2017, following the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, December 6

The latest from the state health department.

2560px-Foo_Fighters_-_Southside_Festival_2019_4184_-_1

'Minneapolis, we're coming!!!': Foo Fighters announce rescheduled concert

The previously announced Huntington Bank Stadium was cancelled.

brave new workshop

Brave New Workshop gets new owners in Hennepin Theatre Trust

It is the longest-running satirical comedy theater in the nation.

Screen Shot 2021-12-06 at 8.05.11 AM

Minnesota firefighters mourn sudden death of colleague

Aaron Bidle of the Loretto Fire Department passed away suddenly Wednesday.

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

Snowmobiler goes through the ice on lake near Duluth

Ice thickness varies greatly throughout Minnesota right now.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here's how much snow fell during the weekend winter winter storm

The Highway 2 corridor in north-central Minnesota was the bullseye.

Related

lisa hanson - the interchange - albert lea

Owner of Albert Lea wine bar that defied COVID orders is arrested in Iowa

Warrants were issued for her arrest after she missed a March 10 court hearing.

Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 8.21.11 AM

2nd MN restaurant found in contempt of court for violating Walz order

The Interchange in Albert Lea was found in contempt of court by Freeborn County District Court.

Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

Judge: Alibi Drinkery will be fined $3K for every day it stays open

The Lakeville bar reopened in mid-December and has been the subject of several actions by the state for defying orders.

the interchange

Large 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.

restaurant

Monticello restaurant will pay profits to state after violating COVID order

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office has settled a lawsuit it filed against Cornerstone Cafe in Monticello

Keith Ellison

AG Ellison sues Apple Valley landlord for evicting tenant during pandemic

The landlord allegedly forced her tenants to move out so she could sell her townhouse, which is a violation of a COVID-19 executive order.

boardwalk bar and grill - east grand forks

East Grand Forks bar plans to reopen Wednesday despite governor's order

The owner is reopening for dine-in customers, which defies Gov. Tim Walz's executive order.

the interchange

MN health department sues 2 restaurants for operating without a license

The restaurants in Albert Lea and Milaca had their licenses revoked after they violated the governor's COVID-19 executive orders.