Interchange owner faces 3 new charges, MDH lawsuit |

Interchange owner faces 3 new charges, MDH lawsuit

Updated: February 04, 2021 05:09 PM
Created: February 04, 2021 02:34 PM

(ABC 6 News) - The Albert Lea business owner, who has publicly voiced her plans to continue to defy the governor's executive orders is facing three new criminal charges. 

Lisa Hanson now faces two additional counts of violating an emergency powers or rule, as well as one misdemeanor public nuisance charge. 

In late January, Lisa Hanson was charged in Freeborn County District Court with six misdemeanors accused of violating emergency powers.

Hanson was arraigned on all nine charges on Thursday during a remote hearing in front of Freeborn County District Court Judge Steve Schwab. A jury trial is scheduled for July.

In addition to the latest criminal charges, MDH filed a lawsuit against The Interchange on Jan. 27, for operating without a license, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 157.16.

The Interchange received license suspension notice in December, and had 20 days to request a hearing. The business failed to request a hearing within 20 days, so their licenses were officially suspended. They continued to operate, and restaurants are not allowed to provide food and beverage service without an active restaurant license.

The lawsuits against The Interchange follows a series of regulatory actions in response to violations of Executive Order 20-99, which prohibited bars and restaurants from offering on-premises dining. This includes cease-and-desist orders, license suspensions, and administrative penalties. The Interchange also faces a 5-year liquor license revocation from the Minnesota Department of Safety, and has a separate ongoing lawsuit with the Minnesota Attorney General’s office.   

Executive order 20-99 was issued at a time of rapid acceleration in the spread of COVID-19 across Minnesota and sought to protect Minnesotans while also preventing hospitals and health care systems from becoming overwhelmed by the surge in cases. Case growth slowed following the executive order, suggesting it helped slow the spread of COVID-19. While case growth has levelled, it remains crucial for businesses to abide by the public health guidance.

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