HOLLAND, Mich. – Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland has remained open for months defying COVID-19 orders like wearing masks and low density.
In January, the state suspended the restaurant’s food license, but owner Marlena Pavlos-Hackney kept it open. She has been a guest on national conservative media shows for her defiance.
“We don’t want in this country communist regime who is going to dictate what we can do and what we can’t do,” she said.
She was arrested early Friday morning and brought to Lansing for a hearing. At first, a man who is not a lawyer appeared on her behalf and was thrown in jail for being in contempt of court. Her actual lawyer then appeared via zoom.
“She doesn’t really understand your honor so I apologize for that,” said attorney Robert Baker.
After conferring with his client, things did not improve for the Holland restaurateur. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina scolded her for failing to follow the state’s COVID-19 orders.
“This is the wrong way to get publicity, this is the wrong way to be a good citizen, it is the wrong way to assist the public in a pandemic,” Aquilina said.
The judge then put Pavlos-Hackney in jail where she will remain until she pays a $7,500 fine and the state believes she will not turn around and reopen the restaurant.