LANSING, MI – Officials are not playing games when it comes to the orders that have been issued pertaining to COVID-19 and places to gather such as bars and restaurants. Tickets, liquors licenses and business licenses are being suspended to restaurants and bars for not following those orders.
Today, Wednesday November 25th, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued citations and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) suspended liquor licenses to establishments that are in violation of the recent public health order issued on Sunday, November 15th, which was put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health by establishing restrictions on gatherings, including prohibiting gatherings of patrons in food service establishments.
The MLCC issued emergency suspensions of the liquor licenses and permits held by Michigan businesses in Fremont, Newaygo and Fenton. Licensees’ multiple violations of the current MDHHS Emergency Order include:
- Allowing non-residential, in-person gatherings.
- Providing in-person dining.
- Failure to require face coverings for staff and patrons.
- Failure to prohibit patrons from congregating.
“Our office is working closely with the Commission as it exercises its duties and we are prepared to prosecute these summary suspensions,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Although none of us wants to take such actions, the deliberate and blatant defiance of the state emergency public health orders by these owners put their businesses at risk. While we are heartbroken at the toll these closures invariably have on the businesses affected, first and foremost the state has an obligation to protect the lives of our residents.”
MLCC Commissioners ordered emergency suspensions of the liquor licenses and permits held by:
- Cory’s Restaurant, Inc. d/b/a Jimmy’s Roadhouse located at 8574 S. Mason Dr., Newaygo. The Commission ordered an emergency suspension of its licenses and permits: Class C and SDM liquor licenses with a Specific Purpose Permit (Food), Outdoor Service Area Permit, Sunday Sales (P.M.) Permit, and Dance Permit on Nov. 24, 2020.
- B. and D., LLC d/b/a Brew Works of Fremont, located at 5885 S. Warner Ave., Fremont. The Commission ordered an emergency suspension of the Class C/Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) and Brew Pub licenses, and permits for an additional bar, Dance-Entertainment, Catering, Sunday Sales (P.M.), Outdoor Service, Specific Purpose (Food), Specific Purpose (Golf), and Specific Purpose (Bowling) on Nov. 24, 2020.
- The Meeting Place LLC, located at 3600 Owen Rd, Fenton. The Commission ordered an emergency suspension of the Class C and Specially Designated Merchant licenses and permits for Sunday Sales (A.M. and P.M.) and Outdoor Service on Nov. 25, 2020.
A virtual hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is scheduled on Dec. 4, 2020, for each of the above-named licensees via Zoom to determine whether this summary suspension should continue, or other fines and penalties should be imposed.
In addition, citations were issued by MDHHS to the following establishments, with penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation or day that a violation continues:
- Big Boy of Sandusky, 422 West Sanilac, Sandusky ($5,000)
- Café Rosetta,102 Fifth Street, Calumet ($1,000)
- Woodchips Barbecue, 315 West Nepessing Street, Lapeer ($1,000)
- The Meeting Place, 3600 Owen Road, Fenton ($1,000)
The Sandusky Big Boy remained open for six days after the state ordered restaurants to close dining room services. For that definace the owners of the franchise are now facing thousands of dollars in fines and Big Boy Corporation is also taking action to take away the franchise license. It is not known if this move is intended to be permanent or temporary. The owners of the franchise have launched a GoFundMe asking for help as they are facing thousands of dollars in fines.
Information was received by MDHHS from local health departments and local law enforcement regarding non-compliance with the order. The civil fines are due within 30 days of receipt of the citations. Additional establishments are slated to be cited.
“The vast majority of restaurant and bar owners are doing the right thing and they have temporarily closed their indoor service to help prevent the spread of the virus,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We know this is not easy for anyone, this is not an action we take lightly, but the sooner we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19 the sooner we can all get back to doing the things we enjoy.”
“Cases of COVID-19 are incredibly high across the state, and these orders are in place to help prevent the spread of the virus, save lives, and protect our frontline workers,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We need to do everything we can to alleviate the stress on our hospitals and health care workers. Food service establishments like restaurants and bars can help play a critical role by following the order and most of them are doing their part.”
To date, there have been more than 320,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, resulting in more than 8,600 deaths. Michigan’s COVID-19 daily death average has quadrupled in the last five weeks.
The public can report any suspected non-compliance issue at an establishment directly to the MLCC online or by calling the MLCC Enforcement hotline, toll-free, at 866-893-2121.