Exclusive: Interview with Lisa Hanson About Her Christmas Behind Bars for Violating Minnesota Gov. Walz’s COVID-19 Indoor Service Ban

In an exclusive interview, the Hayward woman held for a 90-day sentence in the Freeborn County Jail after her conviction for violating Gov. Timothy J. Walz’s executive order banning indoor restaurant service told The Minnesota Sun she about her Christmas behind bars.

“Merry Christmas! I am doing well by the grace of our Lord,” said Melissa “Lisa” Hanson, whose Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro was an institution here for the years before the state charged here for violating the Walz orders, followed by the city’s decision to shut down her restaurant and let her lease expire at the end of the year.

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Judge Berates Albert Lea Bistro Owner: ‘You Just Wanted to Make Money During a Global Pandemic,’ Gives Her 90 Days, $1,000 Fine for Violating Gov. Walz’s COVID-19 Indoor Service Ban

The owner of the Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro began her 90-day jail sentence Thursday after a jury found her guilty of violating COVID-19 emergency orders from Democrat Gov. Timothy J.  “Tim” Walz at her Freeborn County District Court trial.

Melissa “Lisa” Hanson represented herself sui juris, while she was prosecuted by Albert Lea’s City Attorney Kelly Martinez on six of the nine misdemeanors charges against her.

All six of the counts were for willfully violating the governor’s November 2020 executive orders, which prohibited serving alcohol indoors.

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