News Story

Another Example Of State’s Aggressive COVID Enforcement

Restaurant skirting restrictions attracts inspectors

Another state business has had its liquor license suspended after the undercover state investigators who visited were first told that the business was only open for takeout orders.

But the state investigators, who pretend to be legitimate customers, saw people with their food sitting and drinking at the bar.

The business was J. Knapps in Richmond, in Macomb County, according to the state of Michigan.

On Dec. 10, two undercover investigators from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s enforcement division investigated a complaint that the business was allowing indoor gatherings.

The state investigators found the front door locked and went in the back door. When they entered, they saw six patrons seated at the bar, drinking alcohol. None of the patrons were socially distancing or wearing a face mask.

The bartender told the undercover investigators the establishment was for takeout only.

An investigator asked what the other patrons were doing in the bar.

The bartender told the investigator they were waiting for their takeout order.

That’s when the two undercover agents identified themselves as state investigators and took photos and videos of the bar. The patrons seated at the bar had their food orders in front of them but remained drinking alcohol.

Some people were seen leaving the bar without any food.

The next day, one state investigator returned to the bar to verify it had complied with the state order. The investigator was met by the same bartender who said the business was open only for takeout. Two people were seated at the bar but where not eating or drinking.

On Dec. 14, the state investigator called the business and spoke to a stockholder of the business. The state investigator told the stockholder that the people who were drinking Dec. 10 at the bar had just come inside from the outdoor serving area to warm up. The state investigator said that wasn’t the same story told by the bartender.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.