MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 150 businesses are planning to reopen as soon as Wednesday in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz’s dial-back order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A group called ReOpen Minnesota Coalition announced Tuesday that dozens of bars, restaurants and gyms across the state plan to reopen to customers. The group’s announcement came hours after it was learned that the governor plans to extend restrictions on indoor dining through the holiday season.
ReOpen Minnesota has posted a list of the establishments that plan to open as soon as Wednesday. ReOpen also announced late Tuesday that an additional 200+ businesses will reopen starting Friday. However, these businesses opening Friday were listed anonymously, with only information about the type of business and the country where they are located.
Among the businesses to go public with their reopening is Nautical Bowls of Minnetonka. The owners, Bryant and Rachel Amundson, posted on Instagram saying that they’re opening to show support for small businesses, adding that the current shutdown on indoor dining “is is not a practical solution to anything.”
The governor’s latest dial-back order has been in place for four weeks and was originally set to expire Friday. Yet, as the state is coming off a surge in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations, the governor is expected to announce an extension of the order, as well as some changes. A press conference is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, and will be streamed on CBSN Minnesota.
The governor’s four-week dial-back order closed bars and restaurants to indoor dining, shuttered gyms and fitness centers, put a pause on youth sports, and limited social gatherings.
While some Minnesota business have already faced consequences for reopening amid the restrictions, it’s unknown what will happen if many businesses defy the order at once. One Lakeville business owner who is part of ReOpen Minnesota told WCCO over the weekend that she’s ready to face fines and even jail time if need be.
In a statement Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison urged businesses to comply with the governor’s executive order.
“You’re putting people at risk,” he said. “People will get sick and die because of you. Not only from COVID-19: if someone has a heart attack or a stroke or a car accident and dies because they can’t get an ICU bed that’s being used by someone who got COVID at your establishment, or got it from someone who got it at your establishment, that death is also on you.”
According to the law, establishments that violate or threaten to violate the order face fines up to $25,000 per occurrence.
Walz’s update on the restrictions Wednesday will come just a day and a half after the Minnesota Legislature passed a $216 million relief package aimed at businesses and workers who took the biggest hit from the recent restrictions. The update also comes as the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are being administered in the state.
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