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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Bruce Godon  651-201-7171
Bruce.Gordon@state.mn.us
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2020
Establishments in Lakeville, Albert Lea, Now Facing Five-Year Liquor License Revocation for Repeated Violations of Executive Orders
St. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (DPS-AGED) has notified Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville and The Interchange in Albert Lea that they now face a five-year liquor license revocation for ongoing and blatant violations of Executive Order (EO) 20-99, as modified and extended by EO 20-103.

Both establishments continue to sell or advertise the sale of alcohol for indoor, on-premises consumption in violation of the executive orders, and neither have come into compliance after numerous requests, notifications and court actions.  

DPS-AGED previously advised these establishments that it intended to suspend their liquor licenses for 60 days, pending a hearing before an administrative law judge. The establishments were advised at that time that they would be notified of the intent to revoke their license for five years if there were further violations.
  • Alibi, Lakeville – DPS-AGED notified Alibi on Dec. 16 of its intention to suspend Alibi’s liquor license for continued violations of EO 20-99, requiring all restaurants and bars to cease selling alcohol for on-premises consumption until Dec. On December 30 at approximately 8 p.m., Alibi posted on its Facebook page that it would reopen on Dec. 31. Earlier today, an investigator with the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) observed and took photos of numerous patrons eating and drinking what appeared to be alcoholic beverages.
  • The Interchange, Albert Lea - DPS - AGED notified The Interchange on Dec. 19 of its intention to suspend the establishment’s liquor license for continued violations of EO 20-99. On Dec. 21, 26, 28 and 29, The Interchange posted on its Facebook page that it was open for dine-in service. On Dec. 30 and 31, The Interchange posted about a “New Year’s Eve Celebration,” advertising liquor sales and recommending reservations. In addition, DPS-AGED received information on Dec. 29 from the Albert Lea Police Department that The Interchange remained open, with the exception of Christmas Day. On Dec. 30, DPS-AGED agents observed the establishment open for on-premises consumption of food and beverages, again willfully violating EO-103. 
 
While the vast majority of Minnesota establishments continue to comply with state executive orders and guidance, some bars and restaurants that choose to violate the executive order are subject to numerous sanctions and legal actions, up to and including significant fines and revocation of their food and liquor licenses.
 
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that Dakota County District Court  granted his office’s motion for a temporary injunction against Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.  The order converts the temporary restraining order that the court previously granted on December 18 into a temporary injunction that will remain in effect for the duration of the State’s lawsuit.  Alibi must comply with the temporary injunction to temporarily remain closed for indoor, on-premises dining through January 10, 2021, or risk being found in civil contempt of court. 
 
The Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against The Interchange, Albert Lea, Minn., on Dec. 21, 2020, for operating inside on-premises dining in violation of Executive Order 20-99, as modified and extended by EO 20-103. The office won a temporary restraining order against The Interchange on Dec. 23, 2020.   

Notice of Liquor License Suspension 

In addition to Alibi and The Interchange, DPS-AGED has notified six other establishments that they face a 60-day suspension of their liquor licenses. Hearings before an administrative law judge have been scheduled.
 
Executive Order Requirements

Under EO 20-103, all restaurants and bars are prohibited from allowing on-premises consumption of food or alcohol indoors, through Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Establishments may provide outdoor service if they adhere to the applicable guidance available on the Stay Safe Minnesota website (staysafemn.gov) and the requirements of EO 20-103. Establishments with on-sale liquor licenses are allowed to sell beer and wine with takeout orders pursuant to legislation signed by Governor Walz in April of this year.
 
Advisory to Liquor Licensees

The Minnesota departments of Health and Public Safety sent a letter to restaurant and liquor industry licensees yesterday advising them that opening for indoor service on New Year’s Eve would be a violation of Executive Order 20-103.
 
In previous advisories, DPS-AGED has reminded bars and restaurants that any liquor licensee found to be in violation of applicable executive orders may face a 60-day liquor license suspension, pending a hearing before an administrative law judge. An establishment will be notified of the intent to revoke its license for five years, including the subsequent revocation of the establishment’s retail identification card (buyer’s card), if there are further violations.  Minn. Stat. § 340A.415
 
Please click on the following links for the letters referenced above:
 
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 10 divisions where 2,200 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division
DPS-AGED monitors the alcohol industry, issues both alcohol and gambling licenses, and approves regulatory practices. It provides technical and field assistance to businesses and local units of government. It conducts background investigations and criminal investigations relating to alcohol and lawful gambling, the Minnesota Lottery, pari-mutuel horse racetracks and card rooms, and tribal reservation gambling.

Additionally, the division enforces laws pertaining to illegal gambling such as sports bookmaking and other illegal gambling activities. It initiates enforcement actions, resolves and mediates complaints on liquor and gambling violations. It conducts formal hearings on violators, and provides forums for discussion and resolution of liquor and gambling issues.

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