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Kristi Noem urges frustrated Minnesota business owners to move to South Dakota: 'We respect your rights'

Michael Lee

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem urged Minnesota business owners to relocate to her state after the Minnesota attorney general began suing bars that defied the state’s lockdown orders.

“Come to South Dakota!” Noem tweeted. “We respect your rights. We won’t shut you down.”


Noem's tweet also shared a Star Tribune article that highlighted the stories of bars that decided to open in defiance of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order banning indoor dining.

"Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville proudly announced its dangerous decision to increase the risk of community spread of COVID-19 in its community, recording multiple videos of its violations and promising to pack more people into enclosed indoor spaces in a period where the virus is still spreading," Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office said in a statement about one bar on Thursday. "When asked what she would do if officials asked her to close, Alibi Drinkery's owner stated that she would 'see them in court.'"

Bar owner Lisa Monet Zarza said that “all we want is our business open,” adding that people around the state “are out in numbers because they want to support us.”

Many of the businesses highlighted by the Star Tribune were members of the “ReOpen Minnesota Coalition,” a group of over 150 Minnesota businesses that reopened this week in defiance of the governor.

Group founder Darius Teichroew said some of those businesses have now been scared back into closing by Ellison's actions.

A WalletHub analysis found that South Dakota had the least restrictive COVID-19 response in the country, a policy that has resulted in the state also having one of the lowest unemployment rates.

That has become a point of pride for Noem, who has made a habit of recruiting frustrated business owners to her state in recent months.

“South Dakota Means Business. As out-of-state businesses become more and more frustrated with overreach by their state governments, they’re turning to South Dakota,” Noem said in an ad campaign over the summer. “The number of new businesses interested in moving to South Dakota has increased dramatically. We’re ready to show these businesses what South Dakota can do for them.