Some restaurant owners in Michigan have openly flouted the latest State Health orders limiting indoor gatherings and mandatory use of face masks to limit the spread of Covid-19. This week Emergency license suspensions were activated by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. Royal Scot Bowling alley in Watertown township was cited along with Woodchips BBQ in Lapeer. The owners will appear December 11 before a judge, who will determine future actions against these businesses.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has banned in-person dining at bars and dining establishments, which was just extended until December 20 by DHHS director Robert Gordon. The order currently bans in-person learning in schools, and does not permit indoor activity for restaurants, bars, group fitness classes, Casinos, Theatres, Organized sports, bowling alleys and other indoor events.

The suspension order for Woodchips follows several visits from state inspectors in late November. The state says restaurant owner Patrick Hingst was told that he faced license suspension if the restaurant continued to serve dine-in food orders. The order suspends the restaurant’s two liquor licenses and permits for Sunday sales, outdoor service and catering. The suspension order for Royal Scot follows a Nov. 24 inspection. Investigators found mask less patrons inside bowling. Owner Todd Kwiecien allegedly told an inspector “that he had a right to be open and operate his business.” The order suspends the bowling complex’s two liquor licenses and several permits.

The State of Michigan has taken action against other violators as well in Lakeview, Houghton, St. Joseph, Newaygo, Fremont, Fenton, Muskegon Heights, Conklin and Grand Rapids. These businesses have allegedly violated the state emergency orders. Business owners are concerned about a lack of government support. During the first wave in the spring, they were able to apply for federal forgivable loans, and unemployment was able to help employees with lost wages. Right now, everything has stalled on new Covid aid from congress.

Businesses in Michigan are able to apply for $15,000 grants, but proprietors say that doesn’t cover the cost of being shut down. The Governor is working to get the state legislature to pass a $100 million package to help small businesses navigate the pandemic.

Michigan has reported 404,386 Covid-19 cases confirmed, with 9,947 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. A person dies every minute in the US from Covid-19. Follow the CDC guidelines, social distance, wear a mask in public and wash your hands often.

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