4 W MI restaurants fined for defying state health orders

Michigan

Jimmy’s Roadhouse in Newaygo remains open after state officials issued a three-week COVID-19 epidemic order closing indoor dining at bars and restaurants. (Nov. 25, 2020)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The state in December fined more than a dozen Michigan restaurants for disregarding a mandate to close their dining rooms to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Of the 13 establishments cited, four are in West Michigan, including Jimmy’s Roadhouse in Newaygo and D&R Daily Grind in Portage. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services slapped Jimmy’s Roadhouse with a $1,000 fine and D&R with a $2,000 fine.

Jimmy’s Roadhouse, which also defied a state-mandated shutdown in the spring, had its liquor license suspended in November as it stayed open when restaurant dining rooms were again told to close. When News 8 went there, the dining room was busy and customers and workers were neither wearing masks nor practicing social distancing. Owner James Cory told News 8 that he was staying open to keep his employees on the job and making money.

In December, D&R owner Dave Morris told News 8 his restaurant, which specializes in breakfast, couldn’t survive on takeout.

The other two West Michigan restaurants cited are Bernita Mae Café in Sand Lake, which was told to pay $4,000, and Wild Road Coffee in Grandville, which was ordered to pay $2,000.

The state issued fines of up to $1,000 per violation. Payments are due 30 days after the citation, the state said.  

MDHHS said it issued the fines after getting word from local health departments and police. It said people who wish to report restaurants that break the rules can contact their local health departments or call the Michigan Liquor Control Commission at 866.893.2121.

“I thank the vast majority of restaurant and bar owners for helping us contain the spread of COVID-19 by temporarily closing their indoor service,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said in a Tuesday statement. “We continue to see improvements in the numbers, and we know that the public health orders we have put in place are working. I look forward to the day when indoor service can reopen.”

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