Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka was joined for a press conference Thursday afternoon by several bar and restaurant owners, who said they are being targeted by the governor without the data to back it up.
Gazelka said Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison “have to relent.”
“We have heard the cries in the last 24 hours, and I think literally cries from a number of people that this last executive order is like a last straw or a slap in the face. It’s impossible to work with. There’s no way, in ten below, that you’re going to have many people outside. So it’s like the nail in the coffin,” said Gazelka.
“This is not okay. Then when I heard that the attorney general actually took a list of those that were desperate — desperate — and said we’re going to have to open up anyway, and started calling that group and seeing that group and telling them they’re going to be fined $10,000 and pull your liquor license for 60 days. That’s over. Their livelihood is literally done,” he added.
Gazelka later threatened to slash Attorney General Ellison’s budget next year if he continues to penalize defiant bars and restaurants.
Restaurant owners described Walz’s actions as a “slap in the face” and said they have done everything the government has asked them to do since the beginning of the pandemic.
Jeff LaBeau, owner of Depot Bar and Grill in Faribault, said he feels like he’s “on the Titanic and this governor is making us a third-class citizen that has to be in the bottom of the ship.”
“He wants to drown us,” said LaBeau.