Over 150 small Minnesota businesses have united in a coalition to resist the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, should they be extended on Wednesday.
The group, which refers to itself as the ReOpen Minnesota Coalition, wrote last Friday on Facebook:
If you don’t own a business but would love to support these brave businesses and their thousands of employees, we will be posting the list of open businesses the night before they choose to open next week (Wed, the 16th or Fri, the 18th). Go give them business, tip well, and continue supporting them in the coming weeks. The fear is real out there, and fearful people can be very mean, so a kind word to these owners and employees in this Christmas season can mean everything.
For those detractors to our cause, we appeal to your sense of justice and mercy, which we hope you have. These businesses represent not some money-hungry owners looking to swim in pools of gold, but rather people who have spent their lives risking so much to accomplish their dreams, employees struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads just as Christmas arrives, and so many other suffering Minnesotans. So we ask you simply and gently, have a heart.
For those who want to say that these businesses are putting others at risk… we challenge you to show us from any science and data that the risk of going to a bar, or working out at a gym, or bowling ten frames, or teaching a small dance class is any more dangerous than going to Walmart, walking through a crowded MOA, or spending two hours in a busy supermarket. Trust us, we all have families, many of us have family members in the medical field, many of us have lost loved ones to COVID.
But the state’s own data DOES NOT support any of the current lockdown, and much of the country and world stands amazed that Minnesota and a few other states still have leaders resorting to the failed policies of mass lockdown, especially lockdowns so arbitrary as this one.
We demand the right to provide for our families as we always have, give income and employment to our workers as we always have, care for our communities as we always have, knowing that we care more for each of them than any St. Paul bureaucrat ever will. We have inalienable rights that no one can bully us out of without recourse. So next week, we plan to #OpenSafe.
Speaking to CBS News, coalition founder Darius Teichroew stated that the group’s goal is “to provide a little bit of peace and prosperity to these owners and their desperate employees as we approach Christmas.”
CBS News explained, “Under a November 20 ‘dial back’ order, all bars and restaurants in the state were required to cease indoor and outdoor dining service and operate with takeout or delivery only. All fitness centers were also closed, while sports practices and competitions were postponed. The four-week restrictions are set to expire Friday.”
Business owner Lisa Monet Zarza, who owns Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville, told CBS Minnesota, “My heart breaks for anybody that has lost someone to COVID or wasn’t able to see a person that they loved because of the shutdowns and restrictions on the hospitals. And we would never say that COVID isn’t real, but we need to be open. At the end of the day, people just want to feed their families, care for their employees, provide for their communities.”
Zarza continued by stating that she has had to lay off 45 employees at the bar she owns, the Star-Tribune reported.
State Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement, “I get no happiness out of enforcing the order, but my duty to protect Minnesotans from the deadliest global pandemic in a century demands it… It’s not fair to the vast majority of businesses who are doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and are complying with the executive order to let a handful who chose not to compete unfairly with them.”
A spokesman for Minnesota Governor Tim Walz added, “The overwhelming majority of restaurants and bars in Minnesota are doing their part to keep Minnesotans safe during this historic pandemic. That’s why Gov. Walz is working with the Legislature to provide these businesses with immediate financial relief.”