A restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan, defied the governor’s orders to shutdown, and remained open for business. During that time, the diner accumulated $5,000 in state fines and in order to stay afloat raised over $10,000 through GoFundMe, The Daily Caller reported.
Ten days ago Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced an order for restaurants to close dining rooms for three weeks as part of state restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Tonight, @MichiganHHS issued an emergency order that enacts a three-week pause, targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities to curb our state’s rising #COVID19 infection rates. pic.twitter.com/yEc0enVPBX
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) November 16, 2020
The Sandusky restaurant remained open to diners and operated under the Big Boy Restaurant Group franchise name. The Big Boy’s corporate office told the owners of the restaurant they had 24 hours to get into compliance with the state’s order and would take legal action if the restaurant continued to use the franchise’s name, reported the Detroit Free Press. In response, the restaurant disassociated with the corporation, ending a 35 year partnership, and renamed themselves the “Sandusky Diner.”
The restaurant was issued a cease and desist letter from the local health department alleging a breach of the state’s order regarding gatherings, facemasks and employee protective measures. The restaurant was fined $5,000 due within 30 days, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Since the decision, the restaurant gained growing support in the community, the manager Troy Tank was asked to make a GoFundMe to help with labor costs and fines during this process. As of Monday the restaurant had raised $10,725 of its $10,000 goal.
Tank said if the state would pay the restaurant’s overheads and pay him and his employees for the three weeks, he would close his doors. They’re not anti-government, they’re not conspiracy theorists, they just want to let employees work, he said.
Tank said the first shutdown was “awful” and the restaurant didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. He believed they were not in a position to survive another one. “If we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down with a fight,” said Tank, according to the Detroit Free Press.