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Michigan Barbecue Restaurant Offering Indoor Service Receives Liquor License Suspension

This is the tenth Michigan business to receive fines or licensing suspensions for blatantly ignoring statewide health orders

Bottles of spirits and liquor at the bar Salivanchuk Semen/Shutterstock
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

A Gaylord, Michigan, barbecue restaurant that’s been offensively encouraging customers to #riskitforbrisket during the statewide indoor dining closure designed to help prevent the spread of a deadly virus is the latest establishment in the state to receive a liquor licensing and permit suspension.

The Iron Pig Smokehouse, which reopened its dining room for service on Wednesday, November 25 after rather transparently testing the waters on social media to see if customers would support it, had its permits and licenses suspended on Wednesday, December 2. The licensee behind the business is due in a virtual hearing before an administrative law judge on Friday, December 11.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an order in mid-November calling for all restaurants and bars to pause indoor dining service for three weeks. The order took effect on Wednesday, November 18. and is scheduled to expire on Tuesday, December 8, though it seems likely that the rules will be extended. Iron Pig is the tenth business to receive some form of licensing and permitting suspension or fine for blatantly ignoring the rules that the vast majority of restaurant operators are trying to follow.

Anyone who is aware of a business that’s not following the order is permitted to file a complaint with the MLCC Enforcement Division online or by calling the MLCC Enforcement hotline, toll-free, at 866-893-2121.

Businesses that flout the restrictions face serious consequences related to licensing and fines but could also be banned from qualifying for state COVID-19 relief programs. That’s perhaps why some business owners that recently called for defying state orders have now softened their rhetoric. A federal court this week also upheld the epidemic order. Many public official across the state are continuing to call for targeted relief for restaurants and bars that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

Michigan Suspends More Restaurant and Bar Liquor Licenses for Violating COVID-19 Orders [ED]
Some Michigan Restaurants Call to Defy Dine-In Closure as State Issues Fines, License Suspensions [ED]