Downtown Farmington’s John Cowley & Sons Irish Pub was one of 13 restaurants fined for violating pandemic orders, which prohibit indoor dining, according to a statement put out by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on Tuesday.
But co-owner Greg Cowley says they weren’t openly defying the epidemic orders — unlike other businesses that were cited, including the Sandusky Big Boy that simply created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to pay for fines.
According to Cowley, the restaurant was fined for serving drinks to people while they waited for their carryout orders.
“We were serving take-out on a Friday night,” he told WJBK-TV. “People were socially distanced, there was probably more than eight people in the room in the downstairs where you can see it seats 75 to 80 people, they were masked.”
Cowley added, “We were not really told that there was no drinks to be served. A customer walked in, objected to that, and pretty much called the governor’s hotline and it went downhill from there.”
Cowley says the restaurant is seeing 10 percent of its typical revenue due to the shutdown.
The $1,000 fine was issued on Dec. 16. Under the epidemic orders, businesses are fined $1,000 for each violation or day that a violation continues.
The other restaurants cited for violating the orders include:
• Café Rosetta, 102 Fifth Street, Calumet, Issued Dec. 2, $4,000
• Big Boy of Sandusky, 422 West Sanilac Road, Issued, Dec. 2, $5,000
• Hatorando Sushi, 10586 Highland Road, Hartland, Issued Dec. 2, $2,000
• Iron Pig Smokehouse, 143 W. Main Street, Issued Dec. 2, Gaylord, $5,000
• Rockhouse Grill & Tavern, 915 Razorback Drive, Houghton, Issued Dec. 4, $1,000
• Spangler’s Family Restaurant, 601 E. Chicago Road, Jonesville, Issued Dec. 16, $11,000
• Cravins, 389 S. Meridian #9710, Hudson, Issued Dec. 16, $1,000
• Bernita Mae Café, 80 N. 3rd Street, PO Box 53, Issued Dec. 16, Sand Lake, $4,000
• Jimmy’s Roadhouse, 8574 Mason Drive, Newaygo, Issued Dec. 16, $1,000
• D&R Daily Grind, 8712 Portage Road, Portage, Issued Dec. 16, $2,000
• Wild Roast Coffee, 4035 Chicago Drive SW, Grandville, Issued Dec. 16, $2,000
• Woodchips Barbecue, 315 West Nepessing Street, Lapeer, Issued Dec. 16, $4,000
Michigan has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in the winter that dwarfed the first surge in the spring. After the state issued the epidemic orders in late November, the number of cases has declined.
So many restaurants, so little time. Sign up for our weekly food newsletter delivered every Friday morning for the latest Detroit dining news.