A northern Minnesota restaurant is at the center of the latest battle over the state's mask rules.
The Iron Waffle is a breakfast, coffee and dessert shop in Nisswa, Crow Wing County. Earlier this month, it was shut down "for not abiding by or enforcing the Mask Mandate":
The situation caught the attention of anti-mask activists, with the Facebook group "Recall Governor Tim Walz" organizing a rally at the restaurant:
The group says Iron Waffle "was targeted by the illegal state mandates from Dictator Walz and the secret mask police of Keith Ellison, and closed for a 'mandatory mask violation'" with "no warning, no compliance visit, just a shut down notice."
"They have employees with health issues that prohibit masks (which are specifically excluded in the Walz mask orders) but they were ordered closed anyways," the post says, adding that the restaurant would reopen for business "in defiance of Walz and Keith Ellison."
Now, Brainerd Dispatch notes, customers arriving at Iron Waffle will see a sign on the door that says "This is a free country" and that masks are optional.
A Minnesota Department of Health official told the paper that the state has issued cease and desist orders to three restaurants, and that all but one — which they would not confirm is the Iron Waffle — has complied.
According to FOX 9, the business is now facing further repercussions, with the owners having been told that "their case is now in the hands of the Attorney General’s Office for potential legal action."
Despite that, the station says, the owners have no plans to back down, though they may "close for the season and wait for [the state] to stop overstepping what we feel their powers are and not be open."