MI Liquor Licenses Suspended Others Fined for Public Health Order Violations

Several businesses in Michigan that have openly flaunted the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services November 15th closure of indoor dining options have had their liquor licenses suspended and others have received fines according to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Both the MDHHS and Liquor Control Commission have issued citations or suspended liquor licenses for not following the state’s public health order to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Authorities say that while most establishments across the state are doing their part by following the order, several have not.

Those establishments that are in violation of the recent public health order issued on Sunday, November 15th, 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, have been cited.

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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.

Attorney General Dana Nessel says, “Our office is working closely with the Commission as it exercises its duties and we are prepared to prosecute these summary suspensions,” adding, “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.”

Michigan Liquor Control 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 December 4, 2020, for each of those licensees via Zoom to determine whether the 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)

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.

MDHHS Director Robert Gordon says, “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,” and adds, “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.”

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy for Health at MDHHS, says, “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.” She adds,  “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.