MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says a Monticello restaurant, Cornerstone Café, reached a settlement with his office after violating indoor dining restrictions in December.
By the terms of the consent judgement accepted by Wright County District Court Tuesday, Ellison said the restaurant will give up the profits it made while violating the order — $10,000 — and will also fully comply with executive orders and future executive orders.
If the restaurant violates the settlement terms, it is liable to pay a civil penalty of $25,000 to the State of Minnesota.
“I thank this establishment for agreeing to meet its responsibility to help all Minnesotans stop the spread of COVID-19 and congratulate it on rejoining the vast majority of Minnesota bars and restaurants that are already doing so,” Ellison said. “It brings me no joy to bring enforcement actions, because our top priority has always been education and voluntarily compliance and enforcement has always been a last resort. Today’s settlement can be a sign to the very small handful of establishments that are violating the executive orders that compliance is still available to them.”
Ellison says the funds will go to the state’s general fund, not his office.
Ellison’s office sued Cornerstone Café on December 18 for “openly violating the ban on indoor on-premises dining” as ordered by the governor. The court granted a temporary restraining ordered against the restaurant on Dec. 22.
Indoor dining service restrictions were relaxed on Monday as COVID-19 cases have been declining.
The eased restrictions return bars and restaurants about to where they were operating before Gov. Tim Walz imposed a “pause” in response to soaring cases in November. They can resume indoor service at 50% capacity, but must still abide by 10 pm. curfews and take measures to distance people.
The restrictions had generated sharp pushback, with some bars and restaurants defiantly reopening in recent weeks, risking fines and losses of their liquor licenses. The state has gone to court against several violators.
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