January 5, 2021
MDH takes regulatory action against restaurants in Buffalo and St. Paul
Norm’s Wayside received a license suspension notice and cease-and-desist order and Patrick McGovern’s Pub received a license suspension notice after violating executive orders designed to protect Minnesotans
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today announced it has issued a license suspension to Patrick McGovern’s pub, in St. Paul, and issued a license suspension and cease-and-desist order to Norm’s Wayside, in Buffalo, after determining that the facilities had violated executive orders designed to protect their employees, customers, and communities from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-99 on Nov. 18. The executive order prohibits bars and restaurants from offering on-premises dining. The executive order 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. As of Dec. 18, at 11:59 p.m., restaurants and bars could resume outdoor dining at 50% capacity, with a maximum of 100 people, with some additional restrictions. While up to five customers at a time may step inside briefly to pick up takeout, indoor dining remains closed to the public.
On Dec. 26, MDH inspected Norm’s Wayside in Buffalo. During the inspection, MDH staff found the establishment was open for indoor on-site consumption of food and/or beverage, in violation of Executive Order 20-99, and employees were working without masks, in violation of Executive Order 20-81. A cease-and-desist and license suspension notice were served on Dec. 30.
On Dec. 28, MDH inspected Patrick McGovern’s Pub in St. Paul. During the inspection, MDH staff found the establishment was open for on-site consumption of food and/or beverage, in violation of Executive Order 20-99. Customers were served in a patio area which has retractable walls and ceiling that open to the outdoors; however, the walls and ceiling were closed, therefore allowing customers to dine indoors. A 60-day license suspension notice was served on Dec. 29. A cease-and-desist order was not issued because the establishment closed the patio to become compliant.
According to MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff, enforcement actions are a last resort when it is clear that education and outreach are not sufficient to help a regulated establishment come into compliance with requirements.
“We know most bars and restaurants are complying, and that’s evident when we look at the positive impact the executive order has had on the COVID-19 trends in Minnesota,” said Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff. “Daily cases numbers are levelling off and the pressure on our health systems has decreased. Bars and restaurants operating in violation jeopardize that progress and put their employees, customers and the surrounding community at risk for more COVID-19 transmission.”