Bars and restaurants that reopen Monday could face steep punishment

There are hefty fines for businesses that put workers at risk while the shutdown is in place.
Author:
Publish date:
Bar beer

Bars and restaurants intending to open on Monday in violation of the state's mitigation efforts against COVID-19 could face steep punishments.

There have been more than a dozen establishments in Stearns County that have announced their intentions to reopen on Monday.

Said announcements came even before Gov. Tim Walz revealed his intention to let the Stay at Home order expire at 11:59 p.m. Sunday – however he did extend the ban on dine-in service at bars and restaurants until the end of the month.

The governor has said that his administration will be publishing guidelines for bars and restaurants to reopen by Mar. 20 at the latest, with the possibility – but not guarantee – that they could resume operations on June 1.

But based on social media posts, many of the bars that previously planned on opening Monday are still going ahead with it, and in doing so they could face significant financial punishments for violating the order and putting their staff at risk with COVID-19 increasingly widespread in Minnesota.

The governor's office told BMTN that penalties for violating its executive order are up to $1,000 in fines or 90 days in jail for individuals, and for businesses "that force workers to violate the orders the fines go up to $25,000."

Stearns County has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota with 1,609, with much of this linked to outbreaks at meat processing plants like the Pilgrim's Pride facility in Cold Spring.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Bar and restaurant owners, such as Kris Schiffler of Shady's – who intends to open his 6 locations across the county – say they will put measures in place to limit spread, such as by removing some of their bar stools to put more space between customers.

That wasn't the case in some parts of Wisconsin when bars opened on Wednesday, with images showing crowds of customers at establishments, few of them wearing masks or social distancing.

Ultimately, whether bars in Minnesota will be punished for opening too soon will be up to local police, who are charged with carrying out enforcement of the governor's orders.

BMTN reached out to Albany Police Department, home to one of the Shady's pubs, who said it "will respond to calls if requested and they will be handled on a case by case basis."

Next Up

Adam Thielen

Vikings place Adam Thielen on COVID-19/reserve list

Thielen is coming off a two-touchdown game against the Cowboys.

MCF Oak Park Heights

COVID-positive inmate at Oak Park Heights prison dies

He becomes the fourth prison inmate to die from the virus.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 1.08.19 PM

2-ton smoker stolen from Twin Cities chef Thomas Boemer

Boemer is the chef behind restaurants including the popular Revival.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz says relief package is coming for Minnesota small businesses

Walz is prepared to call a special session and pass the package immediately.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.

Related

bar

Stearns County taking an education-first approach to restaurants, bars that reopen early

Businesses that continue to violate the order could face stiff penalties.

restaurant-690975_1280

Walz to announce 'phased plans' for bar, restaurant reopenings

The governor is expected to lay out plans for reopening dine-in service.

Bar beer

14 bars warned for COVID-19 violations are now in compliance

The DPS returned for follow-up checks at the affected bars.

Patio table outdoor dining

Restaurant guidelines to be announced Wednesday, but some have own ideas

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to reveal his plan for the reopening of restaurants, bars, and salons.

37582731971_a7a83ca6c0_k

American Legion of MN calls on Gov. Walz to allow bars to reopen

There has been pushback to the governor's plan to only allow patio dining to reopen.

restaurant-690975_1280

Minnesota changes COVID-19 restrictions on bar, restaurant dining

Capacity limits will still be in place, but table sizes can grow.