State commission suspends three liquor licenses over alleged COVID-19 violations
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission said Tuesday it had suspended the liquor licenses of three businesses in Mt. Pleasant, Plymouth and Bitely over alleged violations of COVID-19 health orders.
In a news release, the commission said the establishments' "multiple violations" of a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' public health order include "allowing non-residential, indoor gatherings; providing indoor dining; exceeding limitations for outdoor dining, and failure to require face coverings for staff and patrons."
In all, the commission said that since September, it has suspended the liquor licenses of 37 businesses across the state over public health order violations.
A commissioner ordered the emergency suspension of the liquor license and permits of Corky's Beal City Tavern in Mt. Pleasant on Jan. 14, according to the state agency. Additionally, a commissioner ordered an emergency suspension of the Plymouth-based The Post Local Bistro's liquor license and permits.
Those two businesses are scheduled to appear in front of an administrative law judge Wednesday for a virtual hearing "to determine whether this summary suspension should continue, or other fines and penalties should be imposed," according to the commission.
An emergency suspension was issued Jan. 15 for Bitely Tavern in Bitely. The business is scheduled for a virtual hearing Friday.
Indoor dining is currently prohibited under an order from MDHHS that is set to expire at the end of the month. Dining rooms have been closed since mid-November; restaurants may still offer takeout. The plan to reopen indoor dining at restaurants and bars includes capacity limits and a curfew.
"Further," the commission said in a statement, "these prohibited gatherings held without requiring patrons to wear face masks pose an immediate threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Allowing this activity to continue could create additional outbreaks of COVID-19."
Since the order went into effect, key data points, such as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, have fallen significantly. Michigan added 1,738 new cases and 41 deaths linked to the virus Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 540,115 and deaths to 13,865 since the virus first was detected in March.
Tuesday's tally, according to data from MDHHS, was the lowest number of new cases since Oct. 21. Data on hospitalizations, testing and new cases also are trending in a more positive direction since a wave of surging cases and deaths hit in November.
Healthcare systems and pharmacies across the state have been working to vaccinate eligible residents since vaccines became available at the end of 2020. According to data last updated Monday, some 512,906 doses have been administered across the state.
The commission's enforcement division investigates all complaints of such violations. Members of the public can report compliance issues by filing a complaint with the MLCC online or by calling the enforcement division's hotline toll-free at 866-898-212.