City of Worthington unable to gain Governor's permission to reopen bars, restaurants ahead phased plans

WORTHINGTON – Late last week, the Worthington City Council passed a motion to allow all businesses in the city to open regardless of Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order, but the motion was contingent on gaining his word that those licensed through the state would be held harmless – in other words, that the businesses would not lose state licensure by going against the order.

According to City Administrator Steve Robinson, he had phone contact on Monday with Patrick Tanis, who is the governor’s Assistant Chief of Staff for Public Engagement and Greater Minnesota Outreach. Robinson said that by the time he spoke with Tanis, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison had already filed notice of a lawsuit against a restaurant owner in Stearns County who planned to reopen against the executive order.

Robinson said it showed that the state was open to enforcement action.

In short, Walz did not grant permission for the city and its businesses to not follow the executive order. Robinson said there was no direct contact with the governor, and Walz never addressed the request.

Because of that, the motion to allow businesses such as bars, restaurants and salons to reopen will not move forward. According to Robinson, the action is no longer in effect until such time as the governor grants permission.

Walz is expected to speak at 3 p.m. today to unveil plans for a phased opening of bars, restaurants and other gathering places. HE has previously said June 1 is his goal to reopen those establishments as well as salons and barbershops, bowling alleys, theaters and other places of public accommodation.

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