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Olmsted County announces temporary closure of Dooley’s Pub due to health and safety hazards

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Dooleys pub

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Olmsted County announced on Friday that it is suspending the food and beverage license of Dooley's Pub in Rochester due to health and safety hazards.

This comes just 10 days after the bar reopened. It was linked to a COVID-19 outbreak in July.

According to a news release from the county, recent "recurring imminent health and safety hazards have been documented and observed that directly place Dooley’s employees and patrons at increased risk to COVID-19 exposure."

The County said these violations include violations of Gov. Tim Walz's executive orders, including a lack of physical distancing by customers and staff, lack of mask wearing and not restricting the number of occupants in the building to 50% or less.

The announcement comes after Rochester City Council member Michael Wojcik shared a video on Facebook showing two bartenders standing on top of the bar pouring liquor into customers' mouths.

"The video speaks for itself," Wojcik said. "The behavior speaks for itself. It reflects poorly on the business, on the employees, on the patrons and it puts us all in danger."

Wojcik was the one to pass the video along to public health officials. After evaluating evidence, OCPH forced the business to close.

"We have to be America's city for health and healing," Wojcik said. "And this is not what we can tolerate in this city."

Olmsted County Public Health is requiring that the business close for at least 72 hours and include a sign on the front door showing that it is closed. Dooley's must remain closed until it can demonstrate compliance with the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan issued by Walz.

"Once the 72-hour period is over and necessary adjustments are in place and enforced, Dooley’s will be allowed to reopen. OCPHS will continue to provide consultation to assure a safe reopening," the County said.

Public health officials said they've reached out to management to help them comply but they've had no success in doing that.

“We owe it to our residents and businesses who are complying with the Governor’s Executive Order, to not allow willful violators to disregard or endanger the health of their employees, neighbors, and community members," Graham Briggs, the director of Olmsted County Public Health Services said.

Wojcik said that for some community members, it's life or death.

"For me, this is incredibly personal because my mother is ailing right now," Wojcik said. "If she were to get COVID-19 right now, I would lose her. There are people all over this community that are in the same situation."

KTTC reached out to the Dooley's Pub owner, Tory Runkle, multiple times, but has not received a response.

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