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Boardwalk Bar and Grill appeal dismissed for mootness

The East Grand Forks restaurant, which opened its dining room during the winter COVID-19 spike in defiance of the governor's order, is scheduled to appear for a motion hearing in Polk County District Court in April.

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The Boardwalk Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks stayed open despite a state lawsuit and subsequent restraining order on Friday, Dec. 11. The restaurant, like others in the city, is chafing under Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz's order banning dine-in meal service to slow the spread of a novel coronavirus. Joe Bowen / Grand Forks Herald

Under relaxed Minnesota guidelines, Boardwalk Bar and Grill can legally open its dining room, rendering its appeal asking a court to allow them to stay open as moot, a judge has ruled.

The East Grand Forks eatery opened in defiance of state COVID-19 orders in December, resulting in a domino effect of legal action. Boardwalk appealed a temporary injunction ordering it to stay closed, but since restaurants are no longer required to comply with the challenged order, a decision on the appeal was deemed unnecessary.

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East Grand Forks Police Chief Mike Hedlund, right, hands a copy of Gov. Tim Walz's executive order to Jane Moss, who owns the Boardwalk Bar and Grill. Moss opened her restaurant on Wednesday, Dec. 9, despite Walz's order, which bars in-person dining service. Joe Bowen / Grand Forks Herald

"We're disappointed with the ruling," said Marshall Tanick, the attorney representing Boardwalk owner Jane Moss. "We feel that this case is not moot, but raises legal issues that warrant further review. If the state is going to continue to pursue its claim against Boardwalk, we will vigorously defend the case and seek additional remedies."

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Boardwalk has 30 days from the time of the order, dated Feb. 9, to appeal the decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court, but Tanick said, for now, they're watching to see how decisions in other courts unfold.

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Jane Moss, owner of Boardwalk Bar and Grill, say the establishment has lost $150,000 that can never be recaptured. Kimberly Wynn / Grand Forks Herald

Some Republican legislators will go before the Court of Appeals next week to challenge the governor's order on somewhat similar grounds, Tanick said.

"So we're kind of watching that case to see how it plays out," he said. "The outcome of that case could have a bearing in our case."

Boardwalk also still has a case pending in Polk County District Court. It is next scheduled to appear for a motion hearing on April 14.

Owner Jane Moss did not return a request for comment.

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Jane Moss, owner of the Boardwalk Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

Herald reporter Adam Kurtz contributed to this report.

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