Wine Bar Owner Who Defied Lockdowns Receives 90-Day Jail Sentence

In April, police officers located Lisa Hanson in Clear Lake, Iowa about 40 miles south of the restaurant she owns.

Officers placed her under arrest and transported her for booking. Hanson, who had not appeared for a March 10 court date, was released a few hours later. She admitted to one local news station that the experience was “unpleasant and scary.”

Hanson’s crime? She kept her restaurant—The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro—open in December against the order of Governor Tim Walz, who in mid-November had issued a new lockdown on bars and restaurants, gyms, sports, and social gatherings. Walz’s order did not prohibit liquor stores, barber shops, salons, and retail businesses from operating.

Hanson publicly said she believed the order was unfair and a violation of her constitutional rights.

“We knew right away that it was wrong what the government was doing to us,” Hanson said following her arrest.

Eight months later, Hanson had her day in court. Last week the jury, after deliberating for an hour, found her guilty of six criminal misdemeanor charges. Judge Joseph Bueltel handed Hanson a 90-day jail sentence and fined her $1,000 in a blistering denunciation.

“You wanted to make money over the interest of public safety,” he said. “You don’t recognize the law. You don’t think you’re subject to the law.”