Attorney General’s office files for temporary restraining orders against The Pour House, The Interchange

Published 8:24 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Tuesday his office has filed motions for temporary restraining orders against three establishments: St. Patrick’s in New Prague, The Pour House in Clarks Grove and The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro in Albert Lea.

Ellison’s office on Monday filed lawsuits against the three establishments for violating the ban on indoor on-premises dining in Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order, which is intended to halt the spread of COVID-19. Among the requirements of the executive order are that bars and restaurants must close for on-premises indoor dining until 11:59 p.m. Jan. 10.

The Attorney General’s office asked the court that all three establishments be prevented from further violating the executive order and fully comply with it and any future executive orders that apply to restaurants and/or bars.

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“The vast majority of Minnesota’s bars and restaurants are complying with executive orders and meeting their responsibility to their communities,” Ellison said in a press release. “These three are among the very few that are not. I’ve asked the court to impose an immediate halt to their actions that are threatening the health and lives of their customers, communities and all Minnesotans.”

The Pour House owner Bruce Nielsen on Tuesday posted a link to a GoFundMe page that had been set up to help the business with legal fees. He wrote he had been served a cease-and-desist order by the attorney general’s office.

“We don’t want to ask for help but the fees are starting to add up,” he wrote. “We cannot continue to let businesses get crushed from unlawful rhetoric!!!! This isn’t just for our Small Business but to help others help stand up to this tyranny!!!! LETS GET ALL OF THESE SMALL BUSINESSES BACK OPEN!!!! GOD BLESS AMERICA AND ALL PATRIOTIC AMERICANS FREEDOM!!!!”

The Interchange owner Lisa Hanson on Facebook on Sunday thanked the patrons who have supported her business since reopening for in-person dining last week. She said she has had to bring back staff who had been laid off to support the influx of customers. 

She said the business will continue to stay open as long as it can and noted many have donated to a legal defense fund for the business. 

She asked people to call or email Walz and Ellison’s offices and demand they reopen Minnesota, return the business licenses that have been taken and drop the lawsuits and fines that have already been imposed.