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Holland restaurant owner defying state health orders restricting COVID spread arrested

Dana Nessel, Michigan Attorney General photo
Associated Press

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.

In a news release, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “This owner has continued to willfully violate the state’s food laws, public health orders and the order of the court – a dangerous act that may have exposed dozens of diners and employees to the virus following the discovery that one of Marlena’s customers tested positive for the virus within two days of eating there.”

A court-ordered Temporary Restraining Order was filed. A warrant for Pavlos-Hackney’s arrest was issued March 11th and she was advised by Michigan State Police to turn herself in by March 18th. When the 55-year old was a no-show, MSP arrested her Friday morning on an outstanding Ingham County Civil Warrant for Contempt of Court.

This week, before her arrest, Pavlos-Hackney said, “We don’t want this country to be a communist regime.”

She’s now in the Ingham County Jail awaiting a court hearing.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.