Seven restaurants in Minneapolis have joined a lawsuit against Mayor Jacob Frey (D) over COVID-19 restrictions that they say are hurting their businesses.
The plaintiffs include Smack Shack, Sneaky Pete’s, Jimmy John’s, Bunkers Music Bar & Grill, The Gay 90’s, Wild Greg’s Saloon and Urban Forage, according to WCCO.
The group of eateries is specifically seeking the repeal of an order saying that restaurant-goers must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter.
“Mandates are not good for business,” Greg Urban, plaintiff and owner of Wild Greg’s, reportedly said. They’re not fair for the restaurant and hospitality industry in particular, at some point we have to stick up for ourselves here. It’s about being responsible, but we can’t live in a cave the rest of our lives. At some point, we’ve got to move on with our lives. I think the time is now.”
The first court date is Wednesday according to Frank Rondoni, the attorney for the plaintiffs. The case will be heard in a Hennepin County Court.
The group will argue that mandates cannot dictate how they operate their businesses, and that if it must, the city can pass a law to achieve its goal.
“There is a legislative process that [Frey] could follow, that he could always regulate bars and restaurants, but he didn’t follow that,” Rondoni reportedly said.
January 14, Frey announced Emergency Regulation 2022-5, mandating vaccinations or negative tests for all spaces that serve food and drink, and for other venues like gyms, museums and theaters.
“The recent surge in cases is overwhelming our hospitals and the data is clear that more is needed to keep our city safe and open while we weather this highly contagious variant,” Frey said at the time. “This is an important opportunity to continue supporting your favorite local businesses and restaurants, knowing fellow patrons are either vaccinated or have tested negative. We all have a role in helping curb this surge in cases and keeping our city moving forward.”
But not all large gathering places are included in the order, a point of contention for the restaurant owners who are suing the mayor.
Hotels are one such example.
Like many of the restricted businesses, they have large gathering spaces like lobbies, but they are exempt from the vaccine mandate.
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