In a tiny town in Minnesota, a bar owner is prepared to pay a fine and face possible jail time to re-open her business and defy the governor's executive order that closed all bars and restaurants indefinitely. Both the local and state governments have since threatened her.
Larvita McFarquhar, a single mom and black woman, operates Havens Garden in Lynda, Minn., a small town of only 448 residents.
On Nov. 19, she posted a video on Facebook captioned, "Live Music and Food next Friday Night! Come have fun with the Great Tommy Rex or sing your own tunes during Open Mic!"
McFarquhar is featured on camera calling on viewers to "come down and have a good time" as she announced her plans to host live music and an open mic night following Thanksgiving Day.
"No person in power has the authority to shut down a business for no reason, and pick and choose who can stay open and who cannot," McFarquhar told Alpha News.
"For me, it's [about] taking a stand. We always want other people to do things, but it’s time that we the people stand up and say, 'no, we're not going to agree with these outrageous demands.'"
After McFarquhar uploaded the video, a Lyon County Sheriff's Office deputy asked her if she was aware that Democratic Gov. Tim Walz had issued the shutdown order and warned her of the potential consequences.
The sheriff's office also called the DJ and threatened to arrest him if he were to perform at Friday’s event, McFarquhar said.
"Yes, I'm aware, but are you aware that the governor's mandate is not a law? The governor does not pass laws and you are supposed to uphold the Constitution," McFarquhar reportedly answered.
"You don't work for the governor," she told the sheriff, "you work for us." As of Saturday, establishments statewide are prohibited from offering in-person dining service.
Walz’s latest action further states that any "business owner, manager, or supervisor who requires or encourages any of their employees, contractors, vendors, volunteers, or interns to violate this Executive Order is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $3,000 or by imprisonment for not more than a year."
Attorney General Keith Ellison's office also intervened on Monday, requesting that McFarquhar state in writing by the end of the day that she "will not remain open for on-site consumption or for entertainment activities like the planned open mic night, and that you will fully comply with Executive Order 20-99."
"Emergency Executive Order 20-99 empowers this Office to investigate and take action against businesses or persons that are operating or threatening to operate in violation of the Order," Assistant Attorney General Noah Lewellen wrote in a letter sent to McFarquhar.
Lewellen concluded: "To the extent Havens Garden does not comply and violates Executive Order 20-99, the Minnesota Attorney General's Office reserves the right to bring an enforcement action pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 8.31."
"That is the same guy who tried unsuccessfully to shut down the program on voter fraud that my organization put on in October," Minnesota-based conservative think tank president John Hindertaker reported in a Power Line article, entitled "A heroine for our time?"
Hindertaker's Center of the American Experiment was slated to conduct a program on ballot security in late October. Then Lewellen alleged within hours that the panel—including Project Veritas director Matthew Tyrmand—would violate the state's COVID-19 guidelines.
Declaring that McFarquhar is "standing tall against our proto-fascist governor's order," Hindertaker emphasized that he and his wife will attend. "It is in such venues that the fight to maintain our heritage of freedom is taking place," he asserted.
To date, McFarquhar is set to proceed with Friday night's activities, but warned patrons that they could each face a $1,000 penalty.
In a follow-up video, she wrote in the description: "What does it say about our country, and Governor Walz when he uses our Sherrifs [sic] department, Attorney General and our citizens to harass, threaten, bully, intimidate, coerce with fines, litigation fees, loss of licenses, and jail time for wanting to be open. They are not going after hardened criminals, they are going after our small BUSINESSES!
"I'm not going to give up my liberties, I'm not going to teach my daughters to give up their liberties, and I want them to learn how to fight," she said. "If I’m not that example — which is very hard for me — who else is going to do it?"
The last several months have "been horrible" financially for McFarquhar, noting that small business owners are already "struggling as it is."
"These are the things that you have to struggle with. I’m struggling to keep my lights on," she added. "The thing that makes me mad during this whole thing is we still have to pay our bills. I have to still pay taxes on the building."
Authorities can demand that McFarquhar closes her doors, but "they still want their taxes" and can place a lien on her property if she fails to pay her bills, she continued.
"The bills that were there before — they don't go away because we’re not open. They're still there and I still have to pay them," McFarquhar fired. "Then to have the threat above that. That’s the worst part."
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