Originally published on Jan. 21, 2022By Adam Duxter

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Seven restaurants have joined forces in a joint lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis, arguing for the immediate repeal of the city’s vaccination or test requirement for those dining out.

The plaintiffs listed on the suit include Smack Shack, Sneaky Pete’s, Jimmy John’s, Bunkers Music Bar & Grill, The Gay 90’s, Wild Greg’s Saloon, and Urban Forage.

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Minneapolis-based law firm Chestnut and Cambronne are representing the establishments.

“When Jacob Frey’s ordinance came out, there was substantial consternation among the (restaurants),” said attorney Frank Rondoni. “They got together and contacted us and asked us to take action on their behalf.”

Rondoni says while the city can dictate rules for bars and restaurants, he feels the way in which Mayor Jacob Frey created the rule violated his power.

“There is a legislative process that he could follow, that he could always regulate bars and restaurants, but he didn’t follow that,” Rondoni said.

“Mayor Frey’s approach is straightforward: keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed and keep our valuable small businesses open,” wrote the Mayor’s office in a written response Friday. “That is precisely why he moved forward with this temporary and flexible approach in anticipation of the rising case numbers and hospitalizations. Doing nothing in the face of clear public health data was not an option.”

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“Mandates are not good for business,” said Greg Urban, who owns Wild Greg’s, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “They’re not fair for the restaurant and hospitality industry in particular, at some point we have to stick up for ourselves here.”

Urban says he feels customers will begin to leave Minneapolis and dine in surrounding cities that don’t have a mandate.

“It’s about being responsible, but we can’t live in a cave the rest of our lives. At some point, we’ve got to move on with our lives. I think the time is now,” he said.

“The varied course of this public health pandemic has shown that an effective response is rooted in a coordinated approach from all sectors of the city,” wrote Minneapolis City Attorney Jim Rowader in a statement Friday afternoon. “The surge in transmission and infection caused by the Delta and Omicron variants renews this call to action. It is unfortunate that Plaintiffs are not interested in doing their part.”

Rondoni says the seven restaurants will appear before a Hennepin County judge this upcoming Wednesday, where they’ll ask for an immediate restraining order. If they’re successful, Rondoni says the city’s order will in effect be overturned.

“We’re coming off a very favorable supreme court ruling, so I’m expecting a good ruling next week,” Urban said.

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Click here to read the full lawsuit.

Adam Duxter