A Michigan restaurant owner who was jailed for violating Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions said Tuesday that the governor should also face the consequences after she was caught flouting her own pandemic rules.
Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria, was reportedly jailed for four nights and fined $15,000 in February for failing to comply with Michigan’s coronavirus restrictions.
“Will someone please show me where the government has the authority to strip us of our God-given unalienable rights?” Pavlos-Hackney said Tuesday during an appearance on Fox News.
“Governor Whitmer is our servant. Her duty is to protect us,” she added. “If I have to face all these penalties which I went through … I think she should face the same penalties.”
On Sunday, Whitmer admitted that she had gathered with friends over the weekend at a restaurant after photos showed her at a table with 12 other people in violation of the state’s May 15 order saying no more than six people can be seated at one table and that tables must be six feet apart. The group gathered on Saturday at the Landshark Bar & Grill in East Lansing.
Whitmer apologized but insisted that she has been “committed to following public health protocols” throughout the pandemic.
“Yesterday, I went with friends to a local restaurant,” Whitmer said. “As more people arrived, the tables were pushed together. Because we were all vaccinated, we didn’t stop to think about it.”
“In retrospect, I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize,” the governor said.
The photo of Whitmer and the large group at the restaurant was first reported by the conservative news outlet Breitbart on Sunday. Breitbart reported that one of Whitmer’s friends briefly posted several photos from the gathering on social media.
“We the people, we are all equal. It does not matter that because you’re the governor that we have to forgive you,” Pavlos-Hackney said. “Treat us with dignity and respect and equally.”
“You can never underestimate the arrogance and hypocrisy of power …This is just more of it,” her lawyer said, adding that they are planning to launch a related federal lawsuit within the next few weeks.
Whitmer has come under fire during the pandemic for both her stringent coronavirus restrictions and her own administration’s apparent failure to observe them in several instances.
In spring last year, Whitmer’s strict lockdown policies angered some Michiganders, prompting demonstrations at the state capitol. The governor’s restrictions at one point prohibited residents from visiting their second residences as well as buying and selling paint, furniture, and garden equipment.
Last month, one of Whitmer’s top aides traveled to Florida just days after Whitmer expressed concern about Michigan residents traveling to Florida over spring break, warning about the danger of catching the coronavirus there.
Ted Goodman, a spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, called out Whitmer over her latest controversy, saying, “for Gov. Whitmer, it’s rules for thee but not for me.”
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