Neisen’s Sports Bar and Grill in downtown Savage is one of 14 Minnesota bars and restaurants that have received warning letters from the state for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Neisen’s is among 10 of the 14 that violated all three main rules: an employee mask requirement, a social distancing requirement that tables be at least six feet apart, and a requirement liming the number of customers to 50 percent of capacity.
The rules are in Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order allowing many businesses, including bars and restaurants, to reopen on June 10.
Violations could lead to fines or loss of an establishment’s liquor license, the Department of Public Safety said in a news release Monday.
Investigators with the department’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division and local law enforcement conducted a sweep of 919 restaurants and bars from July 4-13. The 14 that received warning letters included four that didn’t violate all three rules, according to the department.
Neisen’s and two Shakopee restaurants — Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant and Arnie’s Friendly Folks club — are the only ones south of the river to receive letters. The others are in North St. Paul, Fridley, Princeton, Anoka, Wayzata, Minneapolis, Sauk Rapids and Annandale.
In addition to the warning letters, investigators educated establishments that violated one or two of the rules, the news release said. The majority of those violations were employees failing to wear masks, it said.
Investigators also found many customers violating the executive order’s seating guidelines, which limit each table to four customers or six immediate family members.
“Establishments reported many customers moving tables or seats together to allow for larger groups in one area,” the news release said.
Solutions for complying with the order include marking areas for better social distancing, mask education, canceling live performances and unplugging pool tables and dart machines to create social distancing, it said.