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Shady's Hometown Tavern
Supporters of business owner Kris Schiffler gather May 18 outside Shady's Hometown Tavern in Albany, Minnesota. Photo: Minnesota Public Radio via AP

Judge blocks sit-down dining at central Minnesota bar chain

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — A judge on Tuesday blocked a chain of central Minnesota bars and restaurants from offering sit-down dining in violation of Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency order during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Stearns County judge issued a temporary injunction sought by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison against the owner of the Shady’s chain. Shady’s owner Kris Schiffler earlier had planned to reopen a bar in Albany last month, but announced he was not reopening after he was blocked by a court order.

“All Minnesotans — especially the folks who live in and near Stearns County — can be relieved that the Court has put their health first by granting this temporary injunction,” Ellison said in a statement.

Walz has since allowed bars and restaurants to offer outdoor dining.

Ellison has said his office warned Schiffler that he could be fined up to $25,000 for each location that opened. Schiffler also has Shady’s taverns in Burtrum, Cold Spring, New Munich, Rice and St. Martin. They’re all in or near Stearns County, a COVID-19 hot spot with 2,042 cases confirmed as of Tuesday.

An attorney for “Shady’s” owner did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, more than 25,500 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Minnesota. Minnesota reported 22 new deaths Tuesday, raising the state’s death toll to 1,072.

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