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Restaurant remains open, defies emergency order

Posted at 9:00 AM, Nov 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-21 09:00:13-05

A restaurant in Newago is defying the emergency orders and remained open for in-service dining.

Jimmy's Roadhouse has been serving customers since Wednesday while other restaurants were forced to close by the orders set in place by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

On Friday, the roadhouse also hosted a 'Stand Up Michigan' rally, drawing hundreds of people to Newago from across the state. Some traveled as far as three and four hours for the event that included speakers, music and additional food vendors. An effort to recall Governor Whitmer was also underway with a petition. Participants were also welcomed to eat and dine at Jimmy's Roadhouse throughout the event or thereafter.

"We've been through a lot in 50 years. I just couldn't in good faith, after 50 years, be closed on Wednesday," said Jim Corey, who took over his family's business 20 years ago. "It’s crazy. We’ve got to stand up with peaceful, civil disobedience. That’s where the change remains."

Stand Up Michigan says they are encouraging other restaurants across the state to remain open, with hundreds still having their doors open.

"We believe that together, there are too many lives at risk. There are too many businesses and restaurants that are going to shut down and we wanted them to come together and say we believe they should stand up and open up," said Ron Armstrong, Co-Founder of Stand Up Michigan. "This was one that decided they would stand up."

Ceople say they are comfortable with unmasked servers. Customers told FOX 17 they understood if others are nervous or scared to eat out but encourage those community members to stay at home.

"We’re having fun. We’re eating food. We’re not afraid and you shouldn’t be either. If you’re afraid, stay home. If you’re afraid, wear a mask. We are not afraid. We are exercising our constitutional rights," said customer Amber Wakefield.

Corey could potentially be fined or risk losing his business license as a result of staying open.

MDHHS says local law enforcement and local health departments are authorized to enforce the department's emergency orders. MDHHS will refer allegations of violations to the local health department or local law enforcement agency and first try to resolve the issue without issuing a citation.