State sues Lakeville bar for operating without license

People sit and stand at a bar.
It was standing-room only at the bar at Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville, Minn., which reopened Dec. 16, 2020, in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz’s orders closing indoor service at bars and restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aaron Lavinsky | Star Tribune 2020

The Minnesota Department of Health has sued the owners of a bar in the southern Twin Cities metro area for serving food and beverages without a license, the state said Saturday.

The health department filed its lawsuit against Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville on Friday in Dakota County. It's the latest in a series of regulatory actions taken against the bar, which kept operating in December and early January in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz's order barring indoor dining at bars and restaurants to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The health department notified Alibi Drinkery on Dec. 22 that its license would be suspended after twenty days, and separately, the bar's license expired on Dec. 31. The state says Alibi Drinkery continues to operate as a food and beverage establishment without a license.

“We do not take enforcement actions lightly,” Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff said in a statement. “Even when there is no pandemic, the public depends upon the licensing of bars and restaurants as a basic public health measure – which is why the legislature requires that bars and restaurants have an active license in order to serve the public.”

Alibi co-owner Lisa Monet Zarza was not at the bar and restaurant when the Associated Press called for comment Saturday.

Earlier this month, a judge found Alibi’s owners in contempt of court for remaining open after they were ordered to close, and ordered them to pay a $3,000 fine for every day they defied the order.

Starting Jan. 11, bars and restaurants were once again allowed to provide indoor service, with restrictions.

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