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Minnesota AG settles with gym that defied COVID-19 orders

The Plainview Wellness Center stayed open despite Gov. Tim Walz ordering a shutdown during the November COVID peak.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says his office has reached a settlement with a Plainview gym that defied Gov. Tim Walz's COVID-19 shutdown orders in November.

The Plainview Wellness Center in Wabasha County refused to close when the governor enacted a shutdown of bars, restaurants, gyms, and youth sports as Minnesota dealt with its worst spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths of the pandemic.

The AG's office filed a lawsuit against the gym and filed for a temporary restraining order and injunction on Nov. 25 requiring it to close.

It still stayed open however until a district court issued the temporary restraining order on Dec. 2. Gyms were allowed to reopen at limited capacity just before Christmas.

Ellison's office announced the settlement with Plainview Wellness Center on Monday, with the gym agreeing to pay a $5,000 fine and pledging to comply with the current and future requirements of any executive orders issued by the governor.

Any future violations would result in a $25,000 fine.

It's the fourth settlement the AG's office has reached with businesses that flaunted the governor's executive orders in November and December, with a number of bars and restaurants remaining open in defiance of them as well.

Ellison said of the state's COVID fight: "The situation is improving but we’re not out of the woods yet, so we must all keep following the COVID guidance and restrictions. My top priority has always been educating Minnesotans about their responsibility and winning voluntary compliance. Enforcement has been and will continue to be a last resort."

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