Michigan pizzeria owner arrested for ‘willfully’ violating ‘public health orders’

Ingham County Sheriff's Office

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s (D) office announced that a Michigan pizzeria owner was arrested this week after allegedly “willfully” violating the state’s coronavirus precautions. 

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, the owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, Mich., was arrested on Friday by Michigan State Police following a traffic stop.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development suspended Pavlos-Hackney’s food license in January after allegedly defying a ban on indoor dining during the pandemic imposed by Michigan officials in November, Nessel said in a Friday statement.

After the ban was implemented in November, the restaurant remained open, placing a sign on the door that read “Welcome. We are a Constitutionally Compliant Business. We are not infringing on anyone’s inalienable rights. By law, we do not follow any of the governor’s, mayor’s, health department’s, or other government agency orders or suggestions pertaining to social distancing or mask wearing,” according to multiple reports.

An administrative law judge in February continued the suspension of Pavlos-Hackney’s food license. A warrant for her arrest was issued earlier this month, and state police later advised her to turn herself in by March 18.

However, she failed to turn herself into police by the deadline. She was booked into Ingham County Jail on Friday following her arrest.

The health department in Allegan County, Mich., on Friday also issued a notice to the public about a potential exposure to COVID-19 at the restaurant, Nessel said in the Friday statement.  

“This owner has continued to willfully violate the state’s food laws, public health orders and the order of the court – a dangerous act that may have exposed dozens of diners and employees to the virus following the discovery that one of Marlena’s customers tested positive for the virus within two days of eating there,” Nessel said. 

Pavlos-Hackney appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News last Wednesday after a bench warrant was issued for her arrest over the decision to keep her restaurant open, according to multiple reports.  On Thursday, she was also interviewed by Glenn Beck on Blaze Radio Network. 

Pavlos-Hackney was denied bond, according to online arrest records.

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