Police arrested a western Michigan woman who has defied coronavirus restrictions while operating her restaurant
HOLLAND, Mich. — A western Michigan woman who has operated her restaurant in defiance of coronavirus restrictions was stopped in her car Friday and arrested before dawn, authorities said.
Despite court orders, Marlena Pavlos-Hackney continued to run Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, Michigan, without a license and had refused to surrender by Thursday, Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
State police arrested Pavlos-Hackney, 55, in Park Township, near Holland, and drove her 90 miles (145 kilometers) to the Ingham County jail, Nessel said.
State investigators said the owner had ignored caps on restaurant capacity at Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria and wasn’t enforcing mask rules. Her food license was suspended Jan. 20, but the eatery remained open.
An Ingham County judge declared Pavlos-Hackney in contempt of court on March 4 and ordered an arrest if the business remained open.
“We don’t want this country to be a communist regime that’s going to dictate what we can do and what we cannot do,” Pavlos-Hackney, a native of Poland, told WOOD-TV as she poured coffee for customers Thursday.
Nessel defended the arrest on Twitter, saying Pavlos-Hackney was putting the public at risk.
“Can’t understand how or why this is controversial,” Nessel, a Democrat, said.
To reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at times has put strict limits on restaurants and bars. In-person dining, with limited capacities, was reinstated Feb. 1 after a 10-week halt. There were other restrictions earlier in the pandemic.