A bar owner in southern Minnesota has become the first person to be charged with violating Gov. Tim Walz's executive order temporarily closing bars and restaurants.
David Schuster, 57, has been charged with violating emergency powers after he entertained three people at Shooters Bar in Winnebago, Minnesota, on Mar. 22 – five days after the bar shutdown began.
A local police officer was carrying out a routine patrol of the city that evening, and noticed four parked vehicles outside of the bar at 560 Main Street.
He noticed that the doors to the bars were locked, so he knocked on the window. As he peered through he could see four men inside the bar "playing cards and drinking clear liquid out of glasses," per a criminal complaint.
One of the men was Schuster, and when quizzed by the officer about what they were doing in the bar, Schuster said: "It doesn't matter."
The officer advised Schuster of the executive order and went into the bar to tell the other three people inside they needed to leave.
One of the men said they didn't need to listen to the officer and said he should come back with a warrant.
Schuster meanwhile continued to protest, "noting that this is communism."
The trio eventually left after cleaning up after themselves as more police arrived at the scene.
The Star Tribune reports that seven other people have been charged as of Friday afternoon with breaking executive orders relating to the coronavirus outbreak, though the ACLU of Minnesota has argued that some of the charges – for example a woman driving without a license was hit with an extra charge of the "Stay at Home" order – are "mean-spirited."