By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A judge has slapped an Albert Lea wine bar with a $3,000 a day fine for continuing to open for indoor service.

The Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro was found in contempt of court this week.

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Lisa Hanson, the owner, argues Governor Tim Walz’s dial back order is unconstitutional and unlawful, thus making the penalties she faces unlawful.

“The courts are wrong. I’m just going to say it. The courts are wrong,” Hanson said Saturday inside her open establishment. “The judge that was involved in my hearing doesn’t quite understand that [people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness]. I don’t want to make him mad or anything.”

A sign in The Interchange’s front window states any government officials coming to shut her down aren’t welcome. It also threatens them with legal action.

Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement, “I’m glad to see serious consequences for defying the court and endangering Minnesotans … The very small handful [of non-complying bars and restaurants] should take note that their willful defiance has real-world consequences, as it should.”

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Hanson also faces a possible five-year suspension of her liquor license.

“We’re still in the fight,” she said. “The fight has not ended.”

Restrictions loosen Monday to allow for indoor dining at 50% capacity.

Hanson says that’s just a bone being thrown, and it doesn’t solve Minnesota’s problems.

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David Schuman