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Mid-Michigan restaurants fined for keeping dine-in open during shutdown

The Meeting Place in Fenton lost its liquor license temporarily
Fenton restaurant keeping indoor dining open for freedom and working employees
Fenton restaurant keeping indoor dining open for freedom and working employees(Ryan Smith/WJRT)
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 5:33 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan Liquor Control Commission fined several restaurants and suspended liquor licenses after they kept their dine-in facilities open during the statewide shutdown.

The Meeting Place in Fenton had its license to sell alcoholic beverages suspended. The Big Boy in Sandusky received a $5,000 fine while The Meeting Place and Woodchips BBQ in Lapeer both were fined $1,000.

The Meeting Place and Woodchips kept their indoor dining rooms open after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an epidemic order Nov. 18 requiring that all restaurants and bars close to dine-in service. They can remain open only for carryout or drive-through service until Dec. 9.

“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,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “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.”

Restaurants in Newaygo and Fremont also had their liquor licenses suspended Wednesday, meaning they are not allowed to sell alcohol. All three restaurants are scheduled to appear before an administrative law judge on Dec. 4 for a hearing to decide whether they can get their licenses back.

The Big Boy restaurant in Sandusky received a $5,000 for staying open to indoor diners in violation of the order.

“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 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 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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