‘Willful disregard of the law’: State suspends defiant restaurant’s liquor license

The Department of Public Safety has suspended Boardwalk’s liquor license for 60 days, and any further violations will result in a “five-year liquor license revocation.” 

Boardwalk Bar & Grill/Facebook

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety suspended the liquor license of Boardwalk Bar & Grill, a restaurant in East Grand Forks that reopened last week in violation of the governor’s coronavirus mandates.

The Polk County District Court granted Attorney General Keith Ellison’s motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to prevent the restaurant from remaining open. The business also was issued a cease and desist order by the Minnesota Department of Health.

But the bar and grill “failed to comply with the court’s order,” according to a letter from the Department of Public Safety’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement division.

As a result, the agency has suspended Boardwalk’s liquor license for 60 days, and any further violations will result in a “five-year liquor license revocation.”

“While we recognize the struggles that bars and liquor establishments have experienced, willful disregard of the law that puts Minnesotans in danger cannot and will not be ignored. People’s lives have to take precedent during this pandemic,” Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said in a Sunday press release. “We will continue to work with our local public safety and business partners to educate and provide advice to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Jane Moss, owner of Boardwalk Bar & Grill, said “the support from around the state and other states has been overwhelming.”

“I am in a situation now where they want to take me to court for contempt of court,” she told Action 4 Liberty’s Jake Duesenberg during a Monday interview. “We have to do this. We have to stand up and fight for our rights against this illegal and unlawful order.”

Moss said some business owners are probably scared to reopen because “you don’t know what the state can throw at you.”

“They’ll throw everything they can,” said Moss, who noted that her local police are hesitant to enforce Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order.

“Please open up and stand up for what you know is right,” she added. “It’s an illegal, unconstitutional order. We have every right as free citizens to do this.”

Action 4 Liberty launched a legal defense fund for Moss, which has already raised more than $10,000. Moss said Boardwalk Bar & Grill will be closed Tuesday pending a court appearance but she hopes to reopen Wednesday.

Hundreds of other businesses are reportedly planning to reopen this week in a mass protest of the governor’s orders.

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