Minnesota businesses plan defiant mass reopening

Employees of closed businesses have "bills to pay, children to feed, presents to gift and they're going to lose their homes."

Facebook screenshot

More than 150 businesses plan to reopen this week in defiance of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s coronavirus shutdown.

The businesses have organized as the Reopen Minnesota Coalition. This group has created a Facebook page and GoFundMe to raise awareness and money for business owners who will likely face legal consequences for their actions. Rural businesses involved in the effort plan to open Wednesday, Dec. 16, while metro businesses will open two days later on Friday. Walz’s current shutdown order is set to expire on Friday, but an extension is possible.

Those who choose to participate in the statewide reopening effort are encouraged to indicate their intent and sign up with the Reopen Minnesota Coalition to receive publicity and support.

At least three Minnesota businesses were sued in recent weeks by Attorney General Keith Ellison after they reopened.

Already, the coalition has raised over $3,000 to support business owners and their employees should legal action against them occur. The group’s founder, Darius Teichroew, assured listeners of this recently on the radio show Justice & Drew.

On the show, Teichroew described his group as “a grassroots coalition” to “get businesses back on their feet.”

While he expressed concern for business owners during the interview, his top concern seemed to be with unemployed workers.

“They’ve got bills to pay, children to feed, presents to gift and they’re going to lose their homes,” he said of employees who are presently without wages.

He also shared his frustration that Minnesota is “going further and further into the lockdown with less and less data to support it.”

Meanwhile, the coalition’s Facebook page posted comparisons of Minnesota and South Dakota COVID-19 data, apparently showing little effect from the shutdowns. Both Minnesota and her western neighbor have seen a similar number of cases, but South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has kept the economy open.

“Minnesota is largely behind these [business] owners,” Teichroew said. What remains to be seen is if the governor will extend his order and if Attorney General Ellison will choose to prosecute those who return to business as usual.

“For those detractors to our cause, we appeal to your sense of justice and mercy, which we hope you have,” the group said in a recent Facebook post. “These businesses represent not some money-hungry owners looking to swim in pools of gold, but rather people who have spent their lives risking so much to accomplish their dreams, employees struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads just as Christmas arrives, and so many other suffering Minnesotans. So we ask you simply and gently, have a heart.”