Michigan pizzeria owner Marlena Pavlos-Hackney was jailed and fined for violating Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stringent COVID-19 restrictions. Now she’s calling for the governor to be jailed and fined for her most recent flouting of her own coronavirus rules.
Gov. Whitmer was caught Saturday partying with several friends at an East Lansing bar in clear violation of her own May 15 pandemic order banning indoor dining at restaurants by parties of six or more and by groups of people who “intermingle.”
The governor — who had just updated the rule one week earlier — later apologized for her absentmindedness, saying that as she and her friends got caught up in the moment “we didn’t stop to think about it.” Hoping that her subjects would allow bygones to be bygones, she added, “I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize.”
Two days later, Whitmer announced that she was lifting the rule she violated and claimed that the rule change had been planned well before the weekend’s events — despite the fact that the updated rule was only one week old.
The governor’s apologies, excuses, and about-face on the rule did not sit well with Pavlos-Hackney, the owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria, who was arrested, jailed for four days, and fined $15,000 for refusing to comply with coronavirus rules and a judge’s order to close her restaurant and stop serving food, MLive reported.
Now the embattled restauranteur wants the governor to face the same fate.
In a Tuesday interview with Fox News, Pavlos-Hackney said Gov. Whitmer is a “servant” whose duty is to the people — and she should let Michiganders to be responsible for their own health, not force them to follow special order orders.
The business owner indicated the governor’s apology and request forgiveness should not allow her to avoid punishment.
“I feel like all of us should be on the same page,” she said. “If I have to face penalties which I went through — which was … handcuffs, shackles, four nights in jail, fined $15,000 — I think she should face the same penalties.”
“We the people, we [are] all equal. It does not matter [that] because you’re the governor, we need to forgive you,” she continued. “Treat us with dignity and respect — and equally. We [are] all equal, we the people.”
Pavlos-Hackney’s attorney, Robert Baker, addressed Whitmer’s previous COVID-19 controversies — including secretly taking a private jet to Florida after blaming travel to the Sunshine State for Michigan’s high infection rates and participating in a George Floyd march without concern for social distancing — noting that “you can never underestimate the arrogance and hypocrisy of power.”
“She violated the law,” Baker said, “so her own gatherings and face mask order make those violations, each one of them, a crime, a misdemeanor punishable up to six months in prison and $200 fine for each individual infraction.”
The lawyer said they were appealing the case against Pavlos-Hackney and “planning a federal lawsuit within the next couple of weeks related to this.”