66,000-member veteran organization opposes restrictions to open posts

Dear Governor Walz

Sir, on behalf of more than 66,000 American Legion veterans serving in 550 Minnesota communities, we stand with the professionals in the restaurant, bar and hospitality industries and dispute the restrictions placed on opening our Posts.

The American Legion of Minnesota concurs with the caution and shared sacrifice that our state must take to prevent the spread of the virus. More than 300 of our Posts operate restaurants or bars in our Minnesota hometowns, and our 101-year-old veteran service organization has always adhered to the strict standards of sanitation, cleanliness and hygiene as established by the state.

But Minnesota’s American Legion Posts are more than bars or restaurants. We are proud community hubs and contribute to civic causes, youth sports, public safety, social justice and patriotism. With Memorial Day upon us, our community tradition of gathering at our local Post to honor those who have fallen must be modified.

While we can accept changing our traditional gatherings this Memorial Day, we believe that the recently unveiled modifications that will go into effect on June 1 do not reflect the best course of action. The standard of outdoor patios only, 50 patrons at a time, a requirement for reservations and wearing masks in all circumstances are not suited for our American Legion Posts.

Governor, we are disappointed in your decision. Your fellow veterans urge you to reconsider and modify the established June 1 opening criteria. We concur with many of the restaurant and bar owners in our communities who believe we can open safely, and we assert that our veteran organization can likely set the highest standards of compliance with social distancing, sanitation and risk mitigation.

Thank you for your service to our state and nation during this difficult time. The American Legion is eager to get back to fully serving our Minnesota communities. Your fellow veterans are counting on you to do the right thing for Minnesota.

For God & Country:

Mark Dvorak

Commander The American Legion

Department of Minnesota