ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety sent warnings to 14 Minnesota bars and restaurants for violating the state’s COVID-19 safety requirements.
Investigators with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division recently spent two weeks sweeping 919 Minnesota restaurants and bars for violations in social distancing and wearing face masks.
During the July 4-13 sweep, investigators specifically looked for employees violating masks requirements and establishments serving to more than 50% capacity and setting tables less than six feet apart.
Majority of violations included employees failing to wear masks, according to DPS.
DPS discovered ten restaurants and bars in Minnesota were in violation of all three areas of emphasis and sent them warning letters during the two-week sweep. Four additional establishments received warning letters on June 26.
The restaurants include:
- Neisen’s Sports Bar, Savage
- K & J Catering, North St. Paul
- Route 47 Pub & Grub, Fridley
- Long Siding Bar & Grill, Princeton
- Danno’s, Anoka
- CoV, Wayzata
- Hoban Korean BBQ, Minneapolis
- Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant, Shakopee
- Arnie’s Friendly Folks Club, Shakopee
- Princeton Speedway, Princeton
- Rollie’s, Sauk Rapids
- Breakfast Bar, Minneapolis
- The Stadium, Annandale
- Cowboy Jack's, Minneapolis
One of the restaurants that made the “violation” list is Danno’s in downtown Anoka. The owner, Dan Sweeney, said it’s been challenging to keep up with the changing regulations when, sometimes, the guidelines aren’t clear. He says he’s grateful the state gave him a warning and a chance to correct violations.
“It’s kind of been a wakeup call. It’s a good thing. We’re all human,” Sweeney said.
A manager at Hoban Korean BBQ in Minneapolis and the owner of Neisen’s Spots Bar in Savage both say they did not receive a letter from the state.
The owner of Long Siding Bar and Grill in Princeton said she did receive a letter, but isn’t sure what kind of violations state inspectors saw since, she says, they’ve been following the guidelines. She said the letter from the state was so vague she isn’t sure which parts of the executive order she is violating.
The establishments could face a civil penalty if they do not come into compliance.
During the sweeps, investigators educated bars and restaurants in violation of COVID-19 safety requirements. Investigators encouraged establishments to mark areas for better social distancing, educate people about masks, cancel live performances, and unplug pool tables, dart machines and any other items for more social distance.
Investigators also found that many customers violated the state’s seating guidelines by moving tables or seats together to allow for larger groups. Under Governor Tim Walz’s executive order, seating is limited to four people at each table, or six for immediate family members.
These warnings come after growing concerns about clusters at bars from state health officials. More than 100 cases have been linked to bars in Minneapolis and Mankato, including Cowboy Jack’s, Kollege Klub, Rounders and The 507.
Earlier this month, Minnesota’s leading hospitality organizations strongly urged bars, restaurants and breweries to follow safety guidelines.
The Minnesota Department of Health is also working to enforce social distancing and protocols at bars and restaurants after they received citizen complaints, according to State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.