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More than 100 Minnesota business owners plan to reopen despite Governor Walz's orders

"People are desperate and they are coming up with a solution now that they're stuck in a tight corner with no other place to turn."

MINNESOTA, USA — According to the Minnesota Department of Health, two lawsuits have been filed by the state of Minnesota against restaurants operating in violation of the governor's executive order, and a third restaurant had its licensed revoked.

However, that's not stopping organizations like ReOpen Minnesota from orchestrating a mass reopening event, whether the governor's executive order is lifted or not.

ReOpen Minnesota has introduced a two phase plan for business owners to reopen starting on Wednesday Dec. 16.

The governor's four week dial back order is set to expire Dec. 18. 

"People are desperate and they are coming up with a solution now that they're stuck in a tight corner with no other place to turn," said ReOpen MN Organizer Darius Teichroew.

Lisa Monet Zarza is one of at least 150 business owners Teichroew said is set to take part in next week's reopening plans, and Zarza says it's all for the sake of her employees.

"We're not saying that COVID isn't real, we're not saying that, but the implications of everything involved with COVID are so much more than just what's being reported," said Zarza, Owner of Froggy Bottoms in Northfield and Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville. 

According to John Stiles, a Spokesman for the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, businesses choosing to violate the executive order could be fined up to $25,000 and even face criminal penalties if prosecuted locally by a city or county.

"We're not demanding that you come into our restaurants. We're not demanding that you go into the gyms. We're asking for the right for you to be able to come in," said Zarza. 

Not all business owners though, are on board with a mass re-opening effort. Zachery Suddath, General Manager at the Mallard's Restaurant and Charley Cat Chicken, says they can't afford the consequences of a total re-opening.

"We haven't decided 100% what's gonna happen yet, we're kind of waiting to see what's going on," said Suddath. 

"We know COVID is real and COVID is deadly in certain cases, but we also know that the COVID lockdown is deadly in certain cases, so can we find a middle ground?" asked Teichroew.

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