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State suspends 3 liquor licenses, cites 4 establishments for violating Michigan COVID order

Emergency health order prohibits in-person dining, restricts gatherings

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Liquor licenses have been suspended at three Michigan establishments Wednesday for violating the state’s recent public health order meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission issued emergency suspensions of liquor licenses at the following establishments:

  • Jimmy’s Roadhouse in Newaygo, permit held by Cory’s Restaurant, Inc.
  • Brew Works of Fremont in Fremont, permit held by B. and D., LLC
  • The Meeting Place in Fenton, permit held by The Meeting Place, LLC

Officials say all three establishments have violated the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service (MDHHS)’s latest emergency order that prohibits in-person dining services at all bars and restaurants, along with other restrictions affecting high schools, colleges workplaces and more.

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Read: ‘3-week pause’: Michigan announces stricter COVID rules: What to know

On Tuesday, officials said that Jimmy’s Roadhouse, Brew Works of Fenton and The Meeting Place violated the emergency order by allowing non-residential and in-person gatherings, providing in-person dining, failure to require face coverings for staff and patrons and 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 Michigan 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.”

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A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4 to determine if the liquor license suspensions should continue, or if other fines and penalties should be imposed, officials said.

The MDHHS also announced Tuesday citations issued to numerous establishments accused of not complying with the latest emergency order.

Citations have been issued for the following establishments, as listed by the MDHHS:

  • 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 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.”

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The establishments can be required to pay penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation or day that a violation continues.

Officials say more establishments are expected to be cited in the near future.

“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.”

  • Anyone who wishes to report a violation at an establishment or suspected non-compliance with the MDHHS order can call the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s toll free hotline at 866-893-2121.

On Wednesday, the state reported 4,273 new COVID-19 cases and 73 new deaths in Michigan since Tuesday. In total, Michigan has reported 324,779 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8,761 deaths.

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New COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise in Michigan. Testing has increased in recent weeks, with more than 45,000 diagnostic tests reported per day, but the positive rate has increased to near 13% over the last week. Hospitalizations have increased steadily for the last five weeks, including upticks in critical care and ventilator use.

Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 6,925 on Tuesday, near the highest it has ever been. The 7-day death average was 80, the highest since May. The state’s fatality rate is 2.7%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 159,000 on Tuesday, its highest mark on record.

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