December 18, 2020
Health department takes regulatory action against restaurants in Lakeville and Albert Lea
Alibi Drinkery and The Interchange received cease-and-desist orders after violating executive orders designed to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today announced it has issued cease-and-desist orders to Alibi Drinkery, in Lakeville, and The Interchange, in Albert Lea, after determining that the facilities had violated executive orders designed to protect its employees, customers and community from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Dec. 15, Alibi announced in a social media post that it would be open Wednesday, Dec. 16, in violation of Executive Order 20-99. News media organizations posted photographs taken on Dec. 16 showing patrons in the establishment consuming food and beverages on site in violation of Executive Order 20-99. The photographs also showed food workers not wearing masks, which is a violation of Executive Order 20-81. On Dec. 17, the establishment announced in a social media post that it was open and welcoming customers to come in for food and drinks. MDH issued the cease-and-desist order after local law enforcement verified that the establishment was open that day.
On Dec. 16, MDH inspected The Interchange and found the establishment was open for on-site consumption of food and beverages in violation of Executive Order 20-99. The operator indicated that the business would continue to allow on-site consumption. MDH issued a cease-and-desist order to the establishment on Dec. 18.
Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-99 on Nov. 18. The executive order prohibited bars and restaurants from offering on-premises dining. The executive order was issued at a time of rapid acceleration in the spread of COVID-19 across Minnesota and sought to protect Minnesotans while also preventing hospitals and health care systems from becoming overwhelmed by the surge in cases. Executive Order 20-81 was issued on July 22, requiring Minnesotans to wear a face covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings.
“COVID-19 protocols are designed to slow the spread of this virus and reduce the impacts of this pandemic,” said MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff. “Our preference is always to work with business to bring them into compliance, and we consider regulatory actions as a last resort. The vast majority of businesses are doing their best to help slow down the spread of COVID-19, and we owe it to them to have a consistent and fair enforcement approach.”