Michigan diner reopens six months after owner was jailed over COVID-19 violations

Michigan diner reopens six months after owner was jailed over COVID-19 violations
·2 min read

A Michigan restaurant that closed in March reopened on Tuesday, six months after the owner was charged with breaking COVID-19 precautions.

Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria in western Michigan reopened at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday to hungry customers waiting outside. The reopening came months after the owner completed a four-day stint in jail for alleged violations of COVID-19 protocols.

The diner's customers came to show their support for the owner because "she has stood for her values, and she loves Jesus, and we love Jesus," a diner identified as Julie told FOX 17.

"I was in here at 5:30, and it has been nonstop. People have been rolling in and out," Jon Rocha, a Republican candidate for Michigan's 6th Congressional District, said of the large crowd.


Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, 55, was arrested on March 19 for refusing to comply with local mandates, such as requiring customers to socially distance and wear face masks, according to the state attorney general's office. Pavlos-Hackney's husband paid two fines totaling $15,000 before she was released on March 23, the report added.

Pavlos-Hackney's arrest caused the bistro to close on March 20 and drew condemnation from those on the Right. The Michigan GOP held a rally outside the shuttered restaurant on March 22, with attendees accusing Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel of supporting her "political ally" Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

"We're calling on Attorney General Dana Nessel to get her priorities in order and stop throwing a private citizen in jail for trying to make a living," Republicans said at the news conference outside the restaurant.

Despite spending four days behind bars, Pavlos-Hackney said she has no regrets for her actions.

"If I have to do it again, I will do so," she said. "I know we have to protect and be responsible, but we don't do nothing wrong. We like to work and be able to make a living and produce goods and serve the community, engage with others."


Attorneys for Pavlos-Hackney have taken the case to the Michigan Court of Appeals to obtain more complete transcripts of Pavlos-Hackney's March 19 court arraignment.

Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.

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Tags: News, Michigan, Coronavirus, Food and Drink, Food, Jail

Original Author: Asher Notheis

Original Location: Michigan diner reopens six months after owner was jailed over COVID-19 violations

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