The owner of an East Grand Forks restaurant said the state of Minnesota has created an environment of fear for business owners, and she used her time on a national television program to implore others to join her in staying open despite statewide restrictions mandated by Gov. Tim Walz.

Jane Moss, owner of Boardwalk Bar and Grill, was a guest on the national program “Fox and Friends” early Wednesday morning. She gave a live interview for approximately three and a half minutes shortly after 5:15 a.m.

The discussion came in the hours before a number of Minnesota businesses plan to open today (Wednesday, Dec. 16) despite a statewide mandate that limits face-to-face business by bars, restaurants and other in-person establishments.

“When they did our first shutdown (in Minnesota, in the spring), it didn’t feel right in my gut that they were doing this,” Moss said. “I went to other business owners around me and asked, ‘would you open up with me?’ They were too afraid. …

"We should not be afraid of our government," she said. "This is an illegal and unlawful order.”

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Moss has become a central figure in a showdown between the group of Minnesota business owners and Walz, who last month ordered a moratorium on dine-in service in the state’s bars and restaurants. Moss last week opened anyway, prompting a lawsuit from state Attorney General Keith Ellison. Over the weekend, the state announced that the decision to remain open despite the governor’s order will result in Moss losing her liquor license for 60 days. Further violations could lead to loss of the license for up to five years.

The governor’s latest pandemic mandate, Moss told Fox, is killing businesses like hers.

“I am right on the border of Grand Forks, N.D.,” she said on the Fox program. “Their business is open and it’s gutting my business. So I want to implore those that are in Minnesota, please open up. We don’t have to bow down to this order.”

Moss is part of the ReOpen Minnesota Coalition, which includes upwards of 200 businesses that plan to be open today in defiance of the statewide restrictions. According to a list published on the group’s Facebook page, others in the region that will open include Joe’s Diner in East Grand Forks, LuLu’s Grooming Salon in Crookston and Jamieson’s on Main in Oslo. Some have called on Walz to suspend or amend the restrictions.

Moss said she is pleased other businesses are following her lead, and also said support, both from customers and others across the nation, has been strong.