MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With determination and defiance, unmasked supporters crowded sidewalks outside Shady’s Hometown Tavern and Event Center in Albany.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Air Quality Alert Set To Expire Tuesday Afternoon
“It’s not surprising at all, I’m surprised there’s not more to be honest with you,” explained one of the hundreds in the crowd.
But any hopes of being served, violating the governor’s emergency closure order, were dashed just before noon.
Holding a bullhorn to address his supporters, bar owner Kris Schiffler explained, “our attorney has advised us not to open the door.”
Schiffler, who owns five other Shady’s in other cities, fought back tears as his staff served up t-shirts and takeout, but no customers.
Schiffler said the shutdown has cost businesses dearly, so out of principle he’ll keep fighting.
“Don’t tell me this is about money it never has been. It’s about freedom, it’s about opening bars, restaurants, salons,” Schiffler yelled to the crowd.READ MORE: None Hurt After Minneapolis Crews Battle 5 Fires Over 8-Hour Period
The state filed a criminal complaint in Stearns County District Court to block the intended violation. Late Monday morning, Judge Matthew Engelking granted the temporary restraining order, essentially blocking any reopening prior to June 1 or face stiff fines of up to $25,000 per day of violation.
Attorney General Keith Ellison say he understands the frustrations of small business owners like Schiffler, but he must uphold state law.
“We should be trying to loosen up if we can safely. But we can’t just do whatever we want just because we’re frustrated by the circumstances,” adds Ellison. “You’ve got to do it according to law and it’s got to be responsible.”
Local business owner Keith Sand, who operates a nearby pheasant hunting farm in Avon, says it’s already too late for many.
“Ruining them is what it’s doing,” said Sand. “I was off $50- $60 thousand because of the shutdown, then I stayed open.”
Meantime, a GoFundMe effort has already raised over $207,000 for Shady’s legal fees. A motions hearing is set for Friday in Stearns County District Court.MORE NEWS: Man Dies After Dispute Leads To Shooting In North Minneapolis
CONTACT US: Do you have a story about the COVID-19 pandemic to share with us? Please contact us here.