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Alibi Drinkery closed after court ruling to avoid fines, still intends to fight Walz

It faced being fined $3,000 for every day it remained open in defiance of the governor's shutdown.
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Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

A Lakeville bar that reopened in violation of state COVID-19 rules closed in the days after being found in contempt of court, thus avoiding a possible $3,000-a-day fine.

A Dakota County judge imposed the ruling last week against Alibi Drinkery, stating it would get the $3,000 fine for every day it continued to violate Gov. Tim Walz's executive order requiring indoor dining be closed down until Jan. 11.

Alibi opened its doors multiple times during the shutdown order, but stayed closed between Thursday and Sunday to avoid $12,000 in fines.

Bars and restaurants in Minnesota are allowed to reopen for indoor service at 50% capacity as of Monday, with co-owner Lisa Monet Zarza saying on Friday she is preparing both Alibi and sister bar Froggy Bottoms in Northfield for this week.

But that doesn't mean her fight against the governor's orders will end. She said that she had intended to reopen on Friday before being talked out of it by, among others, her lawyer.

Instead she says she'll use the $12,000 she wouldn't have to pay in fines to go towards a legal challenge to "fight and come after you for everything that we've lost," referring to Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and "anyone who was involved in this."

She also claims that it was the decision of Alibi and several other bars and restaurants that opened in violation of the order were the reason that Walz loosened the restrictions to allow indoor dining to resume on Monday.

Walz said he had taken this step after Minnesota's COVID-19 case count and hospitalizations dip significantly during the shutdown, but has not ruled out re-imposing restrictions if the situation worsens.

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On Saturday, Minnesota confirmed its first five cases of the more contagious B117 strain of COVID-19, which has sparked extremely strict lockdown measures in the U.K., where it was first discovered.

Zarza has been the face of Alibi's fight against the COVID-19 measures. The other co-owner of the bar Ricardo Baldazo, was charged in December with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of first-degree assault after firing upon police in Burnsville.

During her 7-minute Facebook post, Zarza also addressed the insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday, denouncing the "hatred going on from both sides" and saying her "heart broke" for the protesters, police, and legislators scared for their safety.

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