Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria

Michigan restaurant owner, Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, arrested for being ‘COVID-19 defiant’

The owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, Michigan was arrested this morning for willfully violating the state’s food laws and public health orders, according to State Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria
Image/Video Screen Shot

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney was taken into custody by the  Michigan State Police (MSP) today at 5:45 a.m. on an outstanding Ingham County Civil Warrant for Contempt of Court, for failing to comply in a civil case filed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD v. Zante Inc.,dba Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria). She was arrested, without incident, following a traffic stop on Lakewood Blvd and 160th in Ottawa County.

MDARD suspended Marlena’s food establishment license on January 20, 2021.  The restaurant has been operating without a license since then – in violation of the Michigan Food Law.  An administrative hearing was held on February 1 to determine if the suspension was proper and on February 11 the Administrative Law Judge issued a decision and an order continuing the summary suspension of Marlena’s food license.

“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,” said Nessel “MDARD is particularly concerned because the potential exposure happened at a restaurant that refuses to comply with basic COVID-19 measures required by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.”

Pavlos-Hackney was advised by MSP via phone on March 11 that a warrant had been issued for her arrest and she was advised to turn herself in by March 18; she failed to do so.

The Allegan County Health Department (ACHD) announced a potential exposure late last month after a patron ate at her restaurant.

Individuals who were at Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria on Saturday February 27 from 11:00am to 1:00pm are potentially considered exposed to COVID-19 due to the lack of mitigation strategies (mask-use and social distancing) practiced at this restaurant.

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