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State suspends liquor licenses at 2 Oakland County businesses

The Detroit News
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Lansing — Two restaurants in Oakland County have been slapped with license suspensions for violating state orders aimed at preventing COVID-19 transmission.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission issued the emergency suspensions for Punchline Comedy Lounge, 29555 Northwestern Highway in Southfield, and Birdies Indoor Golf & Bar, 980 N. Lapeer Road in Oxford.

Brown-Forman product Don Eduardo tequilla on display at a liquor store in Palo Alto, Calif., Sunday, March 6, 2011.

According to a news release, an investigator from the Liquor Control Commission’s Enforcement Division visited Punchline about 1 a.m. Jan. 23 and took photographs showing the parking lot was full of cars and the inside of the club was filled with customers who weren't socially distanced, with few people wearing face coverings.

On Jan. 8, a state investigator visited Birdies in response to a complaint from the local health department, according to the release. The investigator saw several unmasked people inside, including five customers, also without masks, playing indoor golf at the rear of the business.

The inspector returned Jan. 29 with Oakland County sheriff's deputies and saw nine unmasked people sitting at the bar; the customers were not six or more feet apart and were consuming alcoholic beverages and eating despite a Jan. 13 state order against in-person drinking and dining.

Other unmasked customers were eating and drinking at tables, and six indoor golf stalls were being used by people who weren't wearing masks, the investigator reported.

While the investigator was taking video footage, owner Thomas Morrisey approached and asked if there was a problem, according to the news release; the inspector told him the business was violating state coronavirus orders. Morrisey acknowledged he had received requests to cease and desist indoor gatherings, the release states.

Both businesses are scheduled to appear Monday, Feb. 8, before an administrative law judge who will decide whether to continue the license suspensions or impose fines and other penalties.

Since September 2020, the liquor control commission has suspended liquor licenses of 39 establishments throughout the state for violations of state orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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