The Meeting Place restaurant gets liquor license back after COVID-19 violation

State judge lifted a suspension and levied a $600 fine for serving dine-in customers
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: Dec. 11, 2020 at 3:16 PM EST
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FENTON, Mich. (WJRT) - The Meeting Place restaurant in Fenton can resume selling alcoholic beverages after a state administrative law judge lifted a suspension issued following COVID-19 epidemic order violations.

The restaurant allowed dine-in customers twice in November -- days after a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order required all eateries to close their dining rooms. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission suspended the restaurant’s license soon after.

All restaurants in Michigan were required to close dine-in service on Nov. 18 and the order since has been extended to Dec. 20.

An investigator from the liquor control commission found The Meeting Place parking lot full and about 40 people eating in the dining room during a visit on Nov. 21. Customers also were allowed to eat their takeout orders in the restaurant on Nov. 19.

Owner Marlene Dedivanaj said customers who ordered takeout on those days asked to eat in the restaurant, which employees allowed.

She admitted to the judge that allowing dine-in customers was a mistake and she wasn’t trying to make a political statement by reopening the restaurant’s dining room. The Meeting Place halted dine-in service in accordance with the statewide order the following day on Nov. 22.

The judge noted that Dedivanaj has no previous liquor license violations since obtaining it for The Meeting Place in 2018. He lifted the liquor license suspension, which allows the restaurant to resume selling alcoholic beverages to takeout and delivery customers.

The Meeting Place received a $600 fine for the violations, which must be paid within 45 days. The judge warned Dedivanaj that future violations could result in losing the restaurant’s liquor license permanently.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission also suspended the license for Woodchips BBQ in Lapeer. The restaurant and two others are scheduled to appear before a judge on Friday for a hearing to decide whether their suspensions will continue.

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