Three more restaurants are now facing enforcement action for reopening for dine-in service in contravention of the state's COVID-19 law.
Cork in Anoka and Cornerstone Cafe in Monticello are the subject of lawsuits by the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison for violating Gov. Walz's Executive Order 20-99 prohibiting dine-in service due to widespread COVID-19 levels.
And the Minnesota Department of Health has issued a cease-and-desist order to The Interchange in Albert Lea for doing the same, as well as Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville, which has already been the subject of enforcement action by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and a lawsuit from the AG's office.
The AG's office says Cornerstone Cafe opened for customers on Thursday, with investigators noting that "Cornerstone’s customers and staff were not wearing masks, and customers were seated at tables fewer than six feet apart."
After the AG's office reached out, Cornerstone's owner "acknowledged those attempts on social media and said he did not intend to respond to them."
Meanwhile, Cork told the AG's office Thursday that it intended to remain open, and an investigator "witnessed patrons eating and drinking inside the restaurant."
“There are 10,000 restaurants and 1,500 bars in Minnesota. By far the vast majority of them have served their communities by complying with the law all along," Ellison said.
"Of the few that have threatened not to comply and the even fewer that violated the law, many have already pulled back. The two restaurants that we’re holding accountable today are among the very few that have refused to live up to their responsibility to keep their customers, employees, and communities safe,”
The Minnesota Department of Health said The Interchange was inspected on Wednesday and was found to be open for indoor dining, with the owner "indicating that the business would continue to allow on-site consumption."
Similar actions have already been taken by state authorities against several other bars that have opened in contravention of the COVID-19 shutdown, including Havens Garden in Lynd, Boardwalk Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks, The Iron Waffle in Nisswa, and Mission Tavern in Crow Wing County.