State suspends Gaylord restaurant’s liquor license for violating Michigan COVID order

Emergency health order prohibits in-person dining, restricts gatherings


A liquor license has been suspended at a Michigan establishment Wednesday for violating the state’s recent public health order meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission issued an emergency suspension of the liquor license at Iron Pig Smokehouse in Gaylord. The establishment’s permit is held by Moore Murphy Hospitality, LLC.

Officials say the establishment has 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.

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

Officials announced Thursday that Iron Pig Smokehouse violated the emergency order by allowing non-residential and in-person gatherings, and failing to require face coverings for staff and patrons.

“This pandemic has taken a toll on all of us – from schoolteachers and students to frontline workers and caregivers, we are all feeling the effects of COVID-19. Business owners are no exception,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Wednesday. “But the state has an obligation to protect the public health and welfare, and the emergency public health orders and the associated closures are needed to save lives. My office is working closely with the Commission as it exercises its duties and we are prepared to act to ensure the state upholds its responsibility to protect the lives of our residents.”

A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11 to determine if the liquor license suspension should continue, or if other fines and penalties should be imposed, officials said. The state’s health order is currently in effect until Dec. 8.

  • 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.

Click here to read the entire announcement from the state.

On Thursday, the state reported 7,146 new COVID-19 cases and 175 new deaths in Michigan since Wednesday. In total, Michigan has reported 380,343 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 9,580 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases are slowing but 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 6,917 on Wednesday, slightly lower than one week ago. The 7-day death average was 90, the highest since May. The state’s fatality rate is 2.5%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 198,900 on Wednesday, its highest mark on record. More than 165,000 have recovered in Michigan.

The U.S. recorded over 3,100 COVID-19 deaths in a single day, obliterating the record set last spring, while the number of Americans hospitalized with the virus has eclipsed 100,000 for the first time and new cases have begun topping 200,000 a day, according to figures released Thursday. The three benchmarks altogether showed a country slipping deeper into crisis, with perhaps the worst yet to come, in part because of the delayed effects from Thanksgiving, when millions of Americans disregarded warnings to stay home and celebrate only with members of their household.

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.