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Alibi Drinkery Faces Lawsuit From MDH For Operating Without A License

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Weeks after Alibi Drinkery defied COVID-19 restrictions and opened for indoor dining, the Lakeville bar is now facing a lawsuit from the Minnesota Department of Health.

MDH filed the lawsuit on Friday in district court against the bar for operating as a food and beverage service without a license.

Alibi originally opened on Dec. 15, when COVID restrictions forbade bars and restaurants from opening for indoor dining. Yet, the bar welcomed customers inside, advertising on their social media page and posting photos of customers eating and drinking.

Alibi Drinkery on Wednesday, Dec. 16 (credit: CBS)

In December, owner Lisa Zarza said she was “standing up” against Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders, because she could not go two months without opening.

Alibi’s was informed by MDH on Dec. 22 that its license would be suspended after twenty days. Separately, that license expired on Dec. 31, but Alibi continued to operate as a food and beverage establishment.

On Jan. 19, Alibi posted on Facebook that “happy hour is back at Alibi! Not kidding!” On Jan. 14, the bar posted “Thank goodness for indoor dining. Come down for food, drinks, and laughs.”

“We do not take enforcement actions lightly,” said Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff. “The vast majority of businesses are doing their best to help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The bar has seen multiple regulatory actions from MDH, Department of Public Safety, and the Attorney General’s office over the past few weeks. They received a cease-and-desist order, operating license suspension notice, liquor license suspension notice, and an additional ongoing lawsuit. On Jan. 7, they were found to be in contempt of court and were fined $3,000 a day they were open in violation of the executive order, which expired on Jan. 11.

RELATED: Alibi Drinkery Vandalized With Graffiti After Opening Against Order On New Years  

“Establishments who operated in defiance do not get a free pass. Thousands of other bars and restaurants made sacrifices for the protection of our public health, and we are grateful for their cooperation and selflessness,” added Huff.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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