Minnesota Arcades & Amusements Association Sues State of Minnesota
Lawsuit Seeks to Level the Field for Restaurants and Bars, Arcades and Amusements
MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Minnesota Operators of Music & Amusement Association (MOMA), which provides entertainment to thousands of bars and restaurants in Minnesota, along with several large restaurant and entertainment centers have filed a lawsuit today against the Minnesota Governor’s Office along with the Minnesota departments of Health, Labor and Industry and Employment and Economic Development, for enacting unconstitutional restrictions due to COVID-19, including a curfew, that are causing significant financial losses and damages to bars, restaurants, and associated vendors.
“The decision to close restaurants and bars between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. was made without citing any data demonstrating that the risk of COVID exposure increases during this time and it has greatly affected our ability to survive as an industry,” said Dan Lieberman, President of American Amusement Arcades and a board member of MOMA. “The bottom line is our industry has been following safety protocols and procedures and there have been no reports of COVID-19 cases traced back to patrons playing billiards, darts, arcade games or other devices in bars or restaurants in Minnesota. We are asking the Governor and his administration to show transparency in how they are mandating restrictions on our business.”
MOMA member businesses contribute more than $50 million annually to Minnesota’s economy and employ more than 700 people. Its businesses serve more than 3,000 bars, restaurants, bowling and family entertainment centers, and more in the state. The organization estimates that its members have been forced to lay off, furlough, or terminate more than 30 percent of their employees as a result of the Executive Orders limiting bar and restaurant hours and capacity.
Since June 2020, MOMA members have adopted new cleaning and sanitation procedures based on CDC standards. Additionally, MOMA has issued protocols for members to follow when running pool and dart leagues.
MOMA estimates the companies they represent have experienced a 10 to 15 percent increase in business when Governor Walz recently moved the restaurant and bar curfew from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. They expect another 15 to 20 percent increase if they are allowed to operate until normal closing times throughout the state.
Bogart’s Entertainment Center in Apple Valley, a restaurant and bar offering an event center, live music, sand volleyball, bowling, and more, also joined the lawsuit. The venue estimates they’ve lost nearly $700,000 in revenue from January 2020 to November 2020. The Lakes Sports Bar and Grill in Crystal also joined the suit, citing they have lost more than $500,000 in revenue due to restrictions around COVID-19.
“While retailers have been allowed to continue with business as usual, bars and restaurants have been unfairly and unnecessarily singled out and we haven’t had a seat at any table to be included in the discussion,” said Lieberman. “That is flat out wrong and this misguided decision-making is crippling our business and our industry.”
The MOMA lawsuit is asking for the following:
The elimination of any curfew on bars and restaurants
A temporary restraining order that would lift the curfew immediately until the case is heard.
Equal protection currently afforded retailers
A detailed plan with measurable benchmarks that would designate when capacity and curfew restrictions will be relaxed and eventually lifted.
MOMA also launched a website OpenUpMinnesota.com where Minnesotans can lend their support to eliminate restrictions on bars and restaurants in the state.
The lawsuit was filed in Ramsey County.
Founded in 1967, the Minnesota Operators of Music and Amusements (MOMA) was formed to represent businesses engaged in the coin and currency-activated amusement industry which includes arcades, darts, billiards, jukebox, and more. MOMA serves on-sale liquor establishments, restaurants, bowling alleys, family entertainment centers, hotels, motels, colleges and universities, resorts, and campground sites. Its member businesses contribute more than $50 million annually to Minnesota’s economy and employ more than 700 people. More information is available at MOMA.
SOURCE Minnesota Operators of Music & Amusement Association