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Minnesota suing bar owner who plans to defy stay-at-home order and reopen early

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Sunday night that his office is suing a bar owner who plans to defy the state's stay-at-home order Monday, reports CBS Minneapolis.

Shady's Hometown Tavern in Albany will open at noon, according to owner Kris Schiffler.

He owns five other establishments as well, which he says will open Wednesday.

Schiffler says if his bars remain closed, he's in danger of losing them. "I can end up broke and on the street, just like 163 employees of mine are going to do the same thing in a little bit here if we don't get operating," Schiffler said.

Stearns County Sheriff Steve Soyka said Sunday night that he won't enforce the stay-at-home order but instead will "educate and ask for compliance."

Ellison's office can seek $25,000 fines.

"We don't know what the outcome's going to be," Schiffler said. "We have the backing of all small businesses now. We really feel it."

Shady's started a GoFundMe page, which had raised more than $171,000 as of early Monday.

Minnesota bar owner Kris Schiffler CBS Minneapolis

Schiffler says the money isn't for paying potential fines. It's for attorneys fighting the stay-at-home order, so people like him can reopen without worry.

"It's very emotional … to go out and meet these small business owners," Schiffler said, his eyes tearing.

Ellison's announcement Sunday night said in part. "The owner of Shady's … has declared his intention to break the law and endanger his customers and employees — in Stearns County, with the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota. My office has the duty to enforce the law and the Governor's order, to protect Minnesotans' health, and to protect businesses that are complying with the order from unfair competition. I take that duty seriously.

Schiffler says he'd ask his lawyer what to do if he's hit with a hefty fine.

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