HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) – The doors of a western Michigan restaurant were open before sunrise as the owner greeted diners for the first time since spending four nights in jail for ignoring orders related to COVID-19.
Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland had been closed since March. But Marlena Pavlos-Hackney got her food license back.
“She’s a hero,” said Kris Simmons, one of the first customers to order breakfast on Tuesday.
Pavlos-Hackney last winter allowed indoor dining, despite state and local bans, and ignored other rules aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19. She said the health of her clients depended on them.
Michael Farage ordered steak and eggs on Tuesday and offered a side dish of praise.
“She did it at a time when a lot of restaurateurs wanted to do the same, but they were nervous,” Farage told MLive.com. “And rightly so, you don’t want to be fined and you don’t want the cops surrounding your car. I understand. But she stood up and we are very proud of her.
Pavlos-Hackney still believes his rights have been violated. She is appealing a fine of $ 15,000 that had to be paid before she could leave the prison.
“It’s so good to see all of my people, their smiling faces. It means a lot to me, ”she said.
Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who put Pavlos-Hackney in jail, said she put the community at risk. Attorney General Dana Nessel said she defied court orders and the local health department “at all times.”
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