NEWAYGO, MI — Health leaders in Newaygo County are working with legal counsel over a restaurant owner’s refusal to stop dine-in services following a state Health and Human Services order.
Jimmy’s Roadhouse in Newaygo, about 40 miles north of Grand Rapids, has been open for dine-in services since Wednesday, according to a Fox17 report.
A worker who answered the phone Saturday, Nov. 21, confirmed the restaurant was still open that day for dine-in service as well. Owner Jim Corey did not return phone messages Saturday from MLive.
Restaurants in Michigan were ordered to stop dine-services as of Wednesday, Nov. 18 because of the state’s rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and high percentage of positive cases relative to administered tests.
In Newaygo County, the rate of positive cases is 15.4 percent, based on a seven-day average. Across the state, the rate is 12.9 percent. As of Friday, Newaygo County has recorded 1,251 coronavirus cases and 12 deaths.
Corey’s restaurant hosted a “Stand Up Michigan” rally Friday that attracted hundreds. The rally was intended as a way for people to voice their opposition to the latest coronavirus restrictions, particularly the ban on dine-in ban.
The group Stand Up Michigan had backed an “Unlock Michigan” petition drive that sought to limit Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive powers. A state Supreme Court ruling in mid-October severely diminished her authority, but the state Health and Human Services Department has continued with certain restrictions under different authority.
At Friday’s event, Corey told Fox17 that he could not, in good faith, close his restaurant. He supports civil, peaceful disobedience.
A spokesperson with District Health Department #10, covering Newaygo County, on Saturday said local health officials are consulting with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as legal counsel on “next steps” for addressing the issue at Jimmy’s Roadhouse.
The spokesperson offered no other details.
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