A group of small business owners announced Wednesday that they are suing the state of Minnesota over the “unconstitutional” restrictions imposed on them during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We can mitigate the risks of COVID-19 while still respecting the rights of our citizens and preserving our crucial small businesses,” said Dan McGrath, a spokesman for the Free Minnesota Small Businesses Coalition.
The businesses represented in the lawsuit include Trev’s Kitchen, Prestige Gymnastics, Title Boxing Clubs, and Yoga by Blisstopia. The lawsuit was filed in the Minnesota Court of Appeals and asks the court to repeal four of Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders issued during the pandemic.
According to a press release, the lawsuit argues that the governor is “outside his legitimate powers by picking winners and losers in the economic morass brought about in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“For the state to suspend some, but not all economic activity for an arbitrary and indefinite period of time is unprecedented, and according to the plaintiffs, unlawful,” said a press release from the coalition.
Additionally, the complaint claims Walz’s executive orders related to small businesses don’t meet a compelling state interest. The business owners represented in the case said they should be able to remain open just like the government and big businesses because they are essential too.
The companies are represented by attorney Erick Kaardal, who took issue with Walz’s classification of businesses as either “critical,” “essential,” or “non-critical exempt.”
“The governor lost his constitutional compass in sailing the state of Minnesota through the COVID-19 pandemic. The consequence of his unconstitutional categories is massive suffering for small businesses on an unprecedented scale. We’re hopeful that the appellate courts of Minnesota will agree that the governor’s categories of ‘Critical Sector,’ ‘essential,’ and ‘Non-Critical Exempt Businesses’ are not narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest,” he said.
The lawsuit doesn’t seek any financial damages, but simply asks the courts to overturn Walz’s executive actions.
Kaardal said interested business owners can still join the lawsuit by calling the coalition’s “Government Oppression Hotline.”
Walz’s office issued a statement in response to the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon and said the governor “understands how hard the pandemic is on Minnesotans and their businesses.”
“The virus has forced the state to take drastic action, but it’s action that is within the governor’s authority,” a spokesperson said. “It is also in line with federal guidance and very similar to what other states are doing. All of the governor’s actions have been grounded in the need to protect the health and safety of Minnesotans, and he will continue to work to find ways to get Minnesotans back to work safely.”
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