Jul. 6—WINNEBAGO — The charges accusing the owner of a Winnebago bar of violating a governor's pandemic order were dismissed. He instead was found guilty of violating a city ordinance.
A Winnebago police officer spotted owner David Marvin Schuster, 58, of Winnebago, and three other men inside Shooters Bar the evening of March 22, 2020, court documents say. An order by Gov. Tim Walz closing bars due to the pandemic was in place on that day.
The door to the bar was locked. The officer saw the men through a window. When Schuster came to the door, he likened the governor's shutdown order to communism, according to the initial court complaint.
Schuster said his bar was closed to the public as ordered, according to documents later filed by the defense. He said he was hosting a private card game with friends.
The Faribault County Attorney's Office initially charged Schuster with misdemeanor violating an emergency powers order. The prosecutor dropped that charge last week and instead tried Schuster for a petty misdemeanor violation of Winnebago's liquor sales ordinance.
Faribault County Judge Troy Timmerman found Schuster guilty of the petty misdemeanor Friday following a bench trial. Schuster did not have a city license for Sunday liquor sales and thus was not permitted to have anyone at his bar on that Sunday, Timmerman ruled.
The judge sentenced Schuster to $220 in fines and court fees.
Schuster or his attorney could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Meanwhile the civil case accusing another Winnebago business owner of violating a pandemic shutdown order is still pending.
The Attorney General's Office is suing the Carlson Event Center over its plans to hold a New Year's Eve event that never happened. Owner Gath Carlson later said the event that was advertised as a "New Year's Eve dance" was a religious gathering exempt from the executive order.
A hearing in that case is scheduled in August.