Skip to main content

MN bar owner who defied COVID orders, missed court date gets jail sentence

Lisa Hanson ran The Interchange in Albert Lea.

The Albert Lea wine bar owner who made headlines for clashing with authorities over the state's COVID orders — resulting in her eventual arrest — has been sentenced to jail. 

Lisa Hanson, owner of the now-closed Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro in Albert Lea, was found in contempt of court nearly a year ago for keeping her establishment open during Gov. Tim Walz's executive orders — which banned dine-in service at bars and restaurants.

She was eventually charged with multiple criminal misdemeanors, and her legal situation escalated when she failed to show for a March 10 court date. A warrant was issued for Hanson's arrest, and she was apprehended in Iowa in late April after weeks on the lam. 

In a Friday Facebook update, the Interchange announced that Hanson was found guilty of all the counts against her, and sentenced to 90 days in jail as well as "maximum fines":

But the post also indicates that Hanson and her supporters are not backing down. 

"Just because she has been found guilty doesn't mean that this fight is over," the announcement said. "This is now being taken to a federal level...(Hanson's lawyers) will be personally delivering paperwork in St. Paul tomorrow and the hope is that Lisa will be released soon while the appeal process moves forward."

According to KEYC, Hanson's lawyers were not able to file the paperwork due to inclement weather, but plan to do so "first thing" on Monday.

Her legal team is also calling for the disbarment of both the judge and the prosecutor on the case, the station says. 

The Interchange Facebook account has announced a GoFundMe campaign on her behalf. So far, it has raised nearly $36,000 of a $100,000 fundraising goal. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 10.38.41 PM

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem dead at 68

His office announced he had passed away 'unexpectedly' Friday.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Finch

Suns get hot, Timberwolves fall in Phoenix

A scorching performance in the fourth quarter sent the Wolves to a loss in the desert.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello helps Wild spoil Lundqvist's retirement party

After Henrik Lundqvist's jersey was hung to the rafters, Zuccarello led a 3-2 win.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 5.04.00 PM

David Arquette gives shoutout to MN's F1rst Wrestling on James Corden show

The Hollywood actor wrestled at at a F1rst Wrestling show at First Avenue in early 2019.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

6 charged in Black Friday mass thefts at Twin Cities Best Buys

The group stole from three Best Buy stores that afternoon, the charges say.

Nicollet County Bell Jan 2022 4

Thieves steal large bell from rural MN church, don't get far with it

The bell was found in a ditch with tow ropes around it.


COVID: More help coming to Minnesota hospitals, Walz says

More than 200 medical professionals are coming to help at short-staffed hospitals.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Suspect arrested after falling asleep in vehicle at rest stop

The man was sleeping in a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of an I-94 rest area.

DOminos pizza flickr mr blue maumau

Charges: Edina man threatened to shoot up Domino's Pizza

He claimed a delivery driver had flipped him off, the charges say.

carvana vending machine

Carvana seeking to build vehicle vending machine in Twin Cities

The online car dealership submitted a letter of intent to buy land in the metro to build a fulfillment center.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Coller: New Vikings GM Adofo-Mensah needs to be ruthless

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs to make some big, difficult decisions, writes Matthew Coller.

Patrick Graham

Report: Vikings to interview Giants' Patrick Graham for head coach

Graham coached with the Patriots under Bill Belichick for six years.


the interchange

Large rally in Albert Lea to protest bar's possible liquor license suspension

The Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro reopened on Dec. 16, defying the governor's executive order.

lisa hanson - the interchange - albert lea

Owner of Albert Lea wine bar that defied COVID orders is arrested in Iowa

Warrants were issued for her arrest after she missed a March 10 court hearing.

Bar beer

MDH to ramp up enforcement of bars violating COVID-19 protocols

The state received over a hundred complaints about violations this week.

Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 8.21.11 AM

2nd MN restaurant found in contempt of court for violating Walz order

The Interchange in Albert Lea was found in contempt of court by Freeborn County District Court.

Screen Shot 2021-01-03 at 5.14.07 PM

Lakeville bar that reopened despite COVID order reports vandalism

Also hit by vandalism is Alibi Drinkery's neighbor, Angry Inch Brewing.

Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 11.06.50 AM

GOP lawmakers, gov. candidate to attend fundraiser for bar owner evading arrest

Lisa Hanson has a warrant out for her arrest, stemming from her decision to open her bar in defiance of the COVID-19 shutdown over the winter.

Governor Tim Walz

Report: Walz could halt reopenings again if COVID-19 spikes

Statewide restrictions are due to ease up on Monday.