NEWAYGO, Mich. — Jimmy's Roadhouse in Newaygo is defying the emergency orders and remained open for in-service dining.
The restaurant has been serving customers since Wednesday while other restaurants closed to follow orders set in place by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
On Friday, Jimmy's Roadhouse also hosted a Stand Up Michigan rally, drawing hundreds of people to Newaygo from across the state. Some traveled as far as three and four hours for the event that included speakers, music and additional food vendors. An effort to recall Governor Whitmer was also underway with a petition. Participants were also welcomed to eat and dine at Jimmy's Roadhouse throughout the event or thereafter.
"We've been through a lot in 50 years. I just couldn't in good faith, after 50 years, be closed on Wednesday," said Jim Corey, who took over his family's business 20 years ago. "It’s crazy. We’ve got to stand up with peaceful, civil disobedience. That’s where the change remains."
Stand Up Michigan says they are encouraging other restaurants across the state to remain open, with hundreds still having their doors open.
"We believe that together, there are too many lives at risk. There are too many businesses and restaurants that are going to shut down and we wanted them to come together and say we believe they should stand up and open up," said Ron Armstrong, cofounder of Stand Up Michigan. "This was one that decided they would stand up."
Customers told FOX 17 they are comfortable with unmasked servers and understand if other people are nervous or scared to eat out. They encouraged those community members to stay at home.
"We’re having fun. We’re eating food. We’re not afraid and you shouldn’t be either," said customer Amber Wakefield. "If you’re afraid, stay home. If you’re afraid, wear a mask. We are not afraid. We are exercising our constitutional rights."
Corey could potentially be fined or risk losing his business license as a result of staying open.
MDHHS says local law enforcement and local health departments are authorized to enforce the department's emergency orders. MDHHS will refer allegations of violations to the local health department or local law enforcement agency and first try to resolve the issue without issuing a citation.