A Dakota County judge on Thursday found the owners of the Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville in contempt of court for remaining open despite a court order to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The eatery's owners will have to pay a fine of $3,000 for every day they allow indoor dining.
Gov. Tim Walz issued an order Nov. 18 prohibiting on-site dining at bars and restaurants in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 infections. On Dec. 16, Walz extended the order through Jan. 10.
Alibi co-owner Lisa Monet Zarza initially complied with the order, but later advertised the club would reopen Dec. 15.
After it reopened, Attorney General Keith Ellison sued the eatery, and District Judge Jerome Abrams issued a temporary restraining order and a temporary injunction ordering it to comply with Walz's order. The restaurant closed after the state obtained the restraining order, but reopened again on New Year's Eve day and has stayed open since, drawing overflow crowds.
Abrams said Alibi is endangering the public by staying open during the pandemic.
"Each day the defendant remains in violation of the injunction, the health and welfare of the public are at risk and are being irreparably harmed," Abrams wrote in his ruling.
Reached late Thursday afternoon, Michael Padden, an attorney representing Zarza, declined to comment on the judge's order, saying he hadn't had a chance to read it.
A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 3 regarding the state's request to revoke Alibi's liquor license for five years.
Starting Jan. 11, bars and restaurants in Minnesota can reopen indoor dining at 50% capacity.
James Walsh • 612-673-7428