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restaurant worker at a cash register
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For restaurant and retail workers, the Rare Bird in Traverse City was offering a pretty good deal last Monday: come get your COVID vaccine, and not only are you protected from the virus that’s killed some 3.8 million globally, they’ll throw in a $50 Visa gift card, plus $1 draft beers and $3 cocktails.

Hey, if it works, it works, is Justin Winslow’s attitude.

restaurant closed sign
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Today on Stateside, they’re heeeeere! Host April Baer, noted cicada enthusiast, talks with an entomologist about once-in-17 years emergence of Brood X. Plus, how the new COVID surge in Michigan is affecting businesses and Michigan’s plans to handle the crisis.

people holding slices of pizza
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A West Michigan restaurant owner defying state health orders restricting the spread of the coronavirus was arrested Friday.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney is the owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria. The Holland restauranteur’s food establishment license was suspended in January by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for violating Michigan food laws and public health orders after investigators discovered the restaurant disobeyed seating capacity restrictions and failed to enforce mask requirements. Yet, it remained open.

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First, it was gyms. Now, it’s bars, restaurants, and even a donut shop. For Lansing attorney Dave Kallman, representing the small businesses that have had their liquor licenses suspended, been cited by the health department, or in the donut shop owner’s case, been criminally charged for allegedly violating the state’s COVID-19 orders, has become a bit of a cottage industry.

“They're really attacking these people big time, and going right for their ability to operate and be a business,” Kallman said by phone last week.

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A federal judge is weighing whether to strike down Michigan’s ban on indoor dining after a hearing Monday. A decision isn't expected until Tuesday evening, at the earliest.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association is suing to get a state ban on indoor dining lifted. A temporary three week ban on indoor dining was put in place two weeks ago as COVID-19 cases began to surge.

Restaurant industry attorney Kelli Mulder told a federal judge that “constitutional liberties need to be protected...even in a time of pandemic.”

an empty row of tables at a restaurant
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A lawsuit challenging Michigan’s temporary ban on indoor dining is set for a hearing in federal court Monday morning.

Michigan’s restaurant industry filed the suit after state health department officials imposed a three week ban on indoor dining November 15. The ban was imposed in response to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

Restaurant workings sanitizing tables while wearing masks.
Anatoliy / Adobe Stock

Michigan’s new COVID-19 order shuttering indoor service in bars and restaurants for three weeks is now being challenged in federal court.

The new rules were announced Sunday. The order will allow take-out, delivery, and outdoor dining only starting Wednesday.

The rules are intended to blunt a spike in COVID-19 cases in Michigan. 

Michigan Tech University from an aerial view
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Today on Stateside, former Congressman Bart Stupak joins us to talk about the political climate in rural Michigan, and what he observes as the Democratic party moves left. Plus, the Upper Peninsula is dealing with some scary spikes in COVID-19 infection rates. We'll talk to Michigan Tech University's president about how that influenced his decision to pause some face-to-face classes.


In March of 2019, Daqwan Fistrunk opened up The Green Mile Grille in Detroit. Prior to starting the restaurant, Fistrunk spent seven years in prison, mostly at Lakeland Correctional in Coldwater, Michigan. That's where he met Jimmy Lee Hill, the executive chef at Lakeland who eventually became his mentor.