Ellison settles lawsuits with 2 more Minnesota restaurants over COVID shutdown violations

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Friday his office has settled lawsuits against two more restaurants that violated or threatened to violate Gov. Tim Walz’s shutdown order last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shady’s, a restaurant chain with six locations in Stearns, Benton and Todd counties is ordered to pay $30,000 to the state after the owner threatened to open his establishments in May 2020 in violation of Walz’s executive order requiring bars and restaurants close to indoor dining to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

A large crowd had gathered outside the Shady’s in Albany in anticipation its reopening, but the owner ultimately backed down from his plans after Ellison’s office sued.

Boardwalk Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks is ordered to pay $25,000 for violating the governor’s emergency order when it opened for in-person dining in December 2020. The restaurant was also required to serve a 30-day suspension of its liquor and food and beverage licenses in separate settlements it entered into with the Minnesota Departments of Public Safety and Health.

In a statement, Ellison said he is "pleased that these businesses finally chose to take responsibility for their actions."

"The vast majority of restaurants and businesses around the State complied with the governor’s orders: they put the health and safety of their customers and community ahead of their profits, and I thank them for it," he said. "They should not suffer unfair and illegal competition from other businesses just because they did the right thing." 

Ellison said his office is committed to holding business that public safety at risk accountable for their actions. He has sued several other bars and restaurants that also opened in defiance of Walz’s COVID-19 related closures last year.