Gov. Tim Walz has backed Attorney General Keith Ellison's efforts to sue a Stearns County bar that is violating Minnesota law by opening before COVID-19 restrictions has lifted.
Bar owner Kris Schiffler is opening his Shady's location in Albany on Monday, in contravention of the governor's executive order prohibiting dine-in service until at least the end of May.
This prompted Ellison to issue a lawsuit against the bar to prevent it opening in order to ensure public safety, with a GoFundMe launched in response raising $175,000 so far to cover Schiffer's legal costs, with the bar owner suggesting it could be taken to the Supreme Court.
As he prepared to reopen on Monday, a crowd gathered outside, with few seen to be wearing masks or keeping 6-feet distance from others.
UPDATE 12:15 P.M.
Shady's Bar owner Kris Schiffler has announced he is not able to open his bar on Monday as planned, apparently after Attorney General Keith Ellison obtained a court injunction preventing it from doing so.
More here from FOX 9's Paul Blume.
Speaking on Monday, Walz said that in reopening on Monday, bars are violating the guidelines the Trump Administration has itself set for reopening safely, and while he says he understand business' frustrations, the laws are in place for a reason and action must be taken when they are "blatantly" ignored.
"It's not that we don't think people don't have reason to be upset, but the fact of the matter is these are lawful orders," he said.
He continued to say is that the order is about public safety and "our thought is that people would follow them, but when they don't you have to follow through.
"I would argue I respect the rights of these business owners if they choose to take this to court, but I think looking at it, it just makes sense if you're a business owner that when you open up again you can stay open, and you don't have a situation where people get sick on your premises."
Gov. Walz noted that his administration, in collaboration with leaders in the state's hospitality industry, will be issuing guidelines on Wednesday for how restaurants and bars can reopen their premises potentially from June 1 onwards.
But in the GoFundMe created for Schiffler's fight, it notes: "We want to ensure that this never, ever happens to any of us again.
"We want our rights, our freedom and our control back! These are our businesses we have worked so hard to build, we have to fight the fight."