Michigan bars and restaurants are set to reopen their doors in less than a week (February 1), but one West Michigan restaurant is already open (and has been for a while).

Marlena's Bistro & Pizzeria had their food license suspended by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development on January 20 after being cited multiple times for remaining open for indoor dining.

The restaurant's owner, Marlena Pavlos, stated on the eatery's Facebook page that by remaining open, she is simply "exercising my constitutional rights."

Pavlos is set to appear in court via Zoom on February 1 regarding the future of her food license.

The Timeline

According to MDARD's summary suspension order, this all began on December 20, 2020.

December 20, 2020 - The Allegan County Health Department issued Marlena’s an “Warning Order Finding Imminent Danger to the Public Health and Requiring Corrective Action”. The health department asserted that Marlena's was hosting customer's inside of the establishment and allowing indoor dining. The health department required Marlena's to comply and to close its doors for 72 hours. Marlena's did not comply.

December 20-29, 2020 - Marlena's continued to operate as usual, with indoor dining, and did not require patrons to wear masks or social distance. The Allegan County Health Department issued a cease and desist to the restaurant. They did not cease or desist.

December 30, 2020 - MDARD issued Marlena’s an “Order to Cease and Desist Food Operations” (Cease and Desist Order).

December 31, 2020 - MDARD’s Cease and Desist Order was delivered via UPS.

January 1, 2021 - January 20, 2021 - Following the cease and desist order from MDARD, the Allegan County Health Department conducted follow-up surveillance at Marlena's on several occasions. On every occasion, Marlena's was found do be in violations of both the cease and desist order and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' Face Mask Order. They also continued to allow indoor dining.

January 20, 2021 - MDARD suspended Marlena's food license. In issuing the suspension, MDARD says they determined that "Marlena’s continued offering of indoor dining, failure to require social distancing, and failure to require staff and customers to wear facial coverings creates an imminent threat to the public health, safety, and welfare."

January 25, 2021 - Marlena's announced via Facebook that they would reopen the following morning at 6 a.m.

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