Local business failed to show cause
HOUGHTON — A show-of-cause hearing was conducted Friday morning in Ingham County Circuit Court intended to permit Cafe Rosetta, in Calumet, to show cause why an immediate injunction against the restaurant should not be issued. A number of issues relevant to the restaurant’s refusal to suspend operations, in defiance of several Michigan orders were discussed during the Zoom meeting.
The cafe, located at 102 Fifth St. in Calumet and owned by Amy and Jake Heikkinen, has defied Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) health orders by remaining open for business with indoor seating, with no practices in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as refusing to enforce the wearing of masks, and ignoring social distancing guidelines, since the orders took effect on November18. Since then, the business has received a cease-and-desist order, various warnings from the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department. On Dec. 2, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the agency that oversees food laws and licensing of food establishments, suspended the license of the cafe to sell food, in response to the cafe’s non-compliance with state health orders.
After continuing to operate, later in December, MDARD filed a motion in the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County for a temporary restraining order, which Judge Wanda Stokes issued on Dec. 30. The restraining order required Cafe Rosetta to cease operating a food service establishment without a valid license, in violation of MCL 289.401(1). The restraining order stated that MDARD demonstrated the necessity for immediate action, as continued operations of Cafe Rosetta “creates an imminent threat to the public health.”
MDARD also motioned the court to find Cafe Rosetta in civil contempt of court for non-compliance with the several orders issued to the restaurant since November.
While a motion for a stay of execution of the license suspension is ongoing in 12th Circuit Court in Houghton County, the contempt of court hearing proceeded Friday, partially because the motion to stay proceeding in Houghton County was denied when the 12th Circuit Court Judge recused himself from the case.
in her decision, Judge Stokes found Cafe Rosetta in civil contempt of court and ordered the business to pay $2,500 in fines, along with leaving the restraining order in place. Cafe Rosetta is to remain closed for two weeks, while the business’ attorney compiles a report, not to exceed five pages, on legal points and presidents on why the fine should not be paid.
The controversy surrounding the cafe has created more than a little division within Houghton County. Over the last several weeks, individuals in support of Cafe Rosetta and it owners have stood outside the business in protest against the state’s actions. A rally occurred last Saturday in support of the cafe, and to denounce the wearing of face masks. Meanwhile, Danielle Allison-Yokom, assistant attorney general with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office representing MDARD, submitted four pages of documented complaints against the cafe, written by local community members, which did not include the complaints filed with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department.