Court closes East Grand Forks restaurant operating in violation of four-week shutdown

A tray of beer sits on a table at a restaurant. (FOX 9)

The Polk County District Court closed a restaurant in East Grand Forks, Minnesota after the Minnesota Attorney General Office filed a temporary restraining order because the establishment defied the governor's order for the four-week shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early Friday evening, the court granted the temporary restraining order, putting an end to Boardwalk Bar and Grill's dine-in service, which had been operating for the past three days in violation of the shutdown. Under Governor Tim Walz's current order, restaurants can only offer takeout or delivery.

"I’m grateful for the court’s quick action, because lives are at stake," said Attorney General Ellison in a statement. "We look forward to pursuing our enforcement action to the fullest extent."

Earlier this week, Boardwalk Bar and Grill announced on Facebook that it would be open for dine-in services under its posted hours. When the restaurant opened, police confronted the owner, Jane Moss, who said she knew she was in violation of the order, but would remain open. Police saw customers at Boardwalk throughout the night.

Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health served Boardwalk with a cease and desist order to close. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said his office has also filed a lawsuit against Boardwalk.

"I know it’s especially tough on establishments in border areas — but the fact that neighboring states should be doing more to stop the spread of COVID doesn’t mean Minnesotans should do less," said Ellison in a statement. "It’s only fair to the businesses that are doing their part to hold accountable those that aren’t."

The move by the Minnesota Attorney General's office marks its second enforcement action against a business that continued to operate during the governor's order for the four-week shutdown.

The court scheduled a hearing in the case for Wednesday.