Several Minneapolis restaurants initiated a lawsuit on Thursday against Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey over the COVID vaccine mandate that took effect last week.
According to the complaint, the restaurants are seeking a judgment from the court that the emergency declaration requiring restaurant and bar owners to verify COVID vaccine status from Frey be considered null and void.
The complaint cites both Frey and the city of Minneapolis as defendants.
Earlier this month, Frey utilized his emergency powers to instate a city-wide COVID vaccination requirement for customers of bars and restaurants, or any place where food or drink is served.
According to the executive order, “This Regulation applies to places that sell or serve food and/or drink indoors for consumption onsite and seating areas exclusive to the individual spaces of public accommodation.”
The lawsuit against Frey and Minneapolis is being handled by attorneys, Francis J. Rondoni and Jeffrey C. O’Brien with Chestnut Cambronne.
The plaintiffs include Smack Shack, The Gay 90’s, Sneaky Pete’s Bar and Grill, Wild Greg’s Saloon Minneapolis, Urban Forage Winery & Cider House, Jimmy John’s, and Bunkers Music Bar and Grill.
O’Brien, one of the attorneys handling the case, told The Minnesota Sun, “The lawsuit isn’t about the merits of vaccination.”
He said, “Our clients are simply objecting to the Mayor commandeering the city’s hospitality industry for a public health matter which they are not equipped and/or trained to deal with.”
The Plaintiffs Memorandum of Law states their belief that while there is a time and a place for emergency action from the government, there are rules of law that dictate those situations.
It reads, “At some point, the emergency must be over and normal order, the rule of law and not men, must resume.”
O’Brien told The Sun that the plaintiffs have had expressions of support from many additional restaurant owners in and around the Minneapolis area. He said, “These restaurant owners are standing in there on behalf of everyone impacted by the mandates.”
A Zoom hearing was scheduled for Monday, however, O’Brien said that the city attorney’s office said it will be unavailable until later in the week.
O’Brien said, “They are engaged in game playing to further delay an actual hearing on this. Maybe in that time the mayor will reconsider his actions.”
For the plaintiffs, their revenues since the mandate was implemented have been struggling, O’Brien shared. He said, “There is a very real concern that folks that want to go out and eat or drink will go to the suburbs rather than come to Minneapolis. Regardless of how customers may feel about COVID or vaccinations, they just don’t want to go through this.”
He continued, “It’s one more thing on top of everything else. It is an inappropriate means of trying to accomplish this goal of having a larger percentage of people vaccinated.”
The plaintiffs are seeking a temporary restraining order against the mayor, putting a stay on any enforcement of the mandate pending further hearings.
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Hayley Feland is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun and The Wisconsin Daily Star | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jacob Frey” by Jacob Frey.