Local restaurant defies Gov. Walz COVID-19 restrictions | KAALTV.com

Local restaurant defies Gov. Walz COVID-19 restrictions

Devin Martin
Created: December 16, 2020 10:48 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Following Minnesota Governor Tim Walz's announcement Wednesday, some restaurants and businesses are saying enough is enough by defying the Governor and are choosing to open their doors. 

In Albert Lea, there's a coffee and sandwich shop called the Interchange, owner Lisa Hanson says she's opening her dining room for business. 

"This statement that we're making is all about an American way. It's all about our rights, our freedoms, and our liberties as American Citizens," Hanson said. 

The line at the Interchange was long Wednesday afternoon, baristas were making coffee and sandwiches left and right and the community showed up to stand with Hanson.

"I think it's awesome that there's a few places opening up. I feel very safe here. In a matter of fact, I feel more safe and secure here than I do at Walmart," customer Debbie Proulx said. 

Customer Samuel Wipplinger added, "I feel safe here as I do working at a job or doing anything. There's a risk in life, but I think the friendship and community is worth it. I love this place."

Hanson is a member of the ReOpen Minneota Coalition, joining other businesses statewide that are defying the Governor and are reopening. 

"We either quietly close because we can't afford to stay open anymore or we open up and see what happens. We're hoping and praying that we can remain open and hopefully it will be enough," Hanson said. 

She says she understands the consequences of opening, but the consequences of not reopening would but the consequences of not opening would mean bankruptcy.

"Although we did have support through the curbside and through delivery, when you have a business which 95 percent of the business is dine-in, you're never going to recoup that in curbside," Hanson said. 

At the end of the day, Lisa is taking this risk and she has a message for the Governor.

"Trust us. Trust us with who we are. We're responsible adults," Hanson said. 

ABC 6 News spoke to Ian Rigg, the city manager for the city of Albert Lea. He says the Governor's orders are legally binding and they do have a plan to enforce them, not only with fines but possibly revoking a business license. 

Sue Yost the public health director for Freeborn County told ABC 6 News she wishes businesses would follow Governor Walz's orders to keep as many people as safe as possible. 

ABC 6 News reporter Devin Martin also received a typed anonymous letter on the station vehicle windshield as he was working on the story.

The note says, "Many of us small business owners are doing what we can to ethically serve our community in a way that supports public health measures, often at significant, direct personal cost...we want a healthy community and are willing to make sacrifices to protect others during this pandemic."

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