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District court judge orders The Pour House to halt indoor on-premises dining

A Freeborn County District Court judge last week granted Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s motion for a temporary restraining order against The Pour House in Clarks Grove.

The action, the second of its kind taken in Freeborn County in the last week, essentially ordered the restaurant’s owner and its employees to halt indoor on-premises dining and comply with Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order, which requires bars and restaurants to close for on-premises indoor dining until Jan. 10 in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Ellison’s office on Dec. 21 sued the establishment for openly violating the ban on indoor on-premises dining in defiance of the governor’s order and on Dec. 22 filed for a temporary restraining order to prevent it from further violating the order.

“There is good cause to believe the state will prevail on the merits of its claims that defendant is violating and about to further violate Modified Executive Order 20-99,” District Court Judge Ross Leuning wrote in his order issued Dec. 24.

He said the state had submitted multiple pieces of evidence showing The Pour House was offering indoor on-premises consumption of food and beverages and that these actions violated the state order.

A court hearing has been set for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 28 on the matter.

The Pour House posted on its Facebook page on Dec. 23 that due to the advice of its council, it will be temporarily closed until further notice. It opened for take-out and off-sale on Saturday and is planning for an outdoor event on New Year’s Eve with a couple fires and an outdoor tent set up on the back patio. The page invited people to come sit in their camper, shack or pop-up and enjoy drinks and food.