Republicans call on Whitmer to refund fines levied on businesses who broke COVID rules

gretchen whitmer 08152020
Posted at 10:23 PM, May 24, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — The menu for Landshark Bar & Grill lists five types of grilled pizza. It’s unclear which kind Governor Gretchen Whitmer tried while being photographed violating state COVID rules, but she said the pizza is "pretty good.”

Whitmer’s comments came during a press conference Monday, just one day after a photo went viral showing the governor and 12 friends seated around pushed-together tables inside the East Lansing establishment. The party was clearly violating a state health order that limits tables in restaurants to six people, other groups must be six feet away.

The governor apologized again Monday for what she called an "honest mistake."

"Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been committed to following public health protocols. Yesterday, I went with friends to a local restaurant. As more people arrived, the tables were pushed together. Because we were all vaccinated, we didn't stop to think about it," Whitmer said in a statement. “In retrospect, I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize.”

Republicans like Michigan Freedom Fund Executive Director Tori Sachs, are calling on the governor to do more than apologize and pay back fines the state’s levied on businesses for not following COVID orders.

“I think until she rescinds all of the violations that the state has executed against individuals against businesses, that her apology is hollow and she needs to end all the restrictions immediately,” Sachs said.

Michigan House Oversight Chair Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) called on Whitmer to do the same. “You did not receive any fine or citation for violating your own orders even though your administration has had no problem penalizing Michiganders who made the same mistake you made. Governor, it is time for you to lead with your actions and not just empty words," said Johnson.

According to a state database, more than 280 business have been cited or fined.

Whitmer saying Monday, the state only went after those who deliberately put people at risk. “We have specifically not gone forward and penalized business who have done the right thing, it’s those who have flouted and put peoples safety at risk that are most concerning," she said.

On Monday the state health department put forth their latest order, effective June 1. The new order rescinds the very six-to-a-table restriction the governor broke over the weekend. Whitmer says that plan was in place before she broke the rule.

Sachs is questioning why restaurants have to wait until next week to allow more guests per table.

“I mean look Governor Whitmer did it safely last weekend at the bar, she had 13 people. I have a friend who tried to take her family of seven to Bob Evans and was told they had to sit set at two different tables last week. The rules for the ruling class who are making these ridiculous restrictions that are not based in science, need to end immediately,” Sachs said.