MAPLE GROVE -- An effort has been started to try and convince small businesses across Minnesota to open-up in defiance of Governor Tim Walz's executive order.

Darius Teichroew of Maple Grove is a spokesman for the Facebook Group Reopen Minnesota Coalition. He says they want business owners to open starting next week.

We've basically got a two-phase plan where we open more of the rural Minnesota businesses next Wednesday the 16th, and then following that on the 18th more of the metro area businesses open up.

The group has a link on its Facebook page where business owners can sign-up to open early. Teichroew says so far they have about 80 businesses signed-up, with the goal of getting to over 200.

However, he's not naming who they are right now, so the Attorney General doesn't have a heads-up on who they are.

And what we want to avoid is getting that public knowledge out ahead of time so that he cannot stop them from opening.  He'll have to be reactive and not proactive.  We will, for those who agree to publicize their names, we are going to be announcing the list the night before each of these openings.

He says there is that concern of the businesses facing a fine.

Yeah, there is a concern there that those fines may actually happen.  So far what we've seen is people that have stood up they've been threatened with fines but so far no one has actually fined them.

Reichroew says they have set-up a GoFundMe page to help businesses who may face legal fees.

Back in May, during the first statewide shutdown, the owner of Shady's in Albany planned to open early defying the executive order but was stopped just minutes prior to doing so with a phone call from AG Keith Ellison.

He says they want the businesses to open restriction-free, but be as safe as possible.

Earlier this week the owner of Koz-E's Eats and Sweets in Waite Park posted a message on Facebook saying they weren't selling gift cards due to a fear they may no longer be open in January.

Governor Walz shut down places like bars and restaurants, gyms, and event centers starting on November 22nd. The order runs through next Friday, December 18th. He says he's hoping to announce by the end of this week whether he'll extend that order.

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