95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Diner boarded up; owner seeks jail release in COVID-19 case

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney sits in the courtroom during her arraignment, Friday March, 19, 2021 photo
Nicole Hester
Ann Arbor News via AP

Supporters boarded the doors at a western Michigan restaurant to show authorities that the owner will keep it closed, a condition necessary to spring her from jail for violating court orders related to COVID-19.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, meanwhile, remained in custody Saturday, 90 miles away at the Ingham County jail.

Holly Shashaguay said she helped board up Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland on Friday night.

“When I painted that ‘complied’ sign, I was crying the whole time,” Shashaguay told MLive.com. “We didn’t want to do it, but we did.”

Pavlos-Hackney, 55, was arrested Friday, weeks after losing her food license and repeatedly refusing to close the business.

Investigators said Pavlos-Hackney had allowed indoor dining when it was banned and didn’t enforce mask rules, ignoring state restrictions intended to reduce the spread of the virus. A sign told customers that their health wasn’t her responsibility.

“She didn’t really understand the ramifications of what was coming down the pike,” said lawyer Robert Baker.

To get out of jail for contempt, Pavlos-Hackney must pay $7,500 and convince authorities that the restaurant is closed.

“You have selfishly not followed the orders,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said Friday.