The restaurants are operating in open defiance of the state’s polarizing governor and the restrictions she ordered in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The businesses say the science on which the rules are based — pushed by the state health department, World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — is politicized and untrustworthy.
“I don’t think it’s as bad as they’re saying it is,” diner owner David Koloski said. “The whole thing with the coronavirus is political. I think Democrats are dug in and unwilling to move on this.”
Their protests have thrived for weeks thanks to law enforcement officers who support their cause and state residents willing to travel hours in some cases to patronize businesses where they can flaunt their distaste for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and her rules. So far, cease-and-desist orders and fines have done little to dissuade the businesses, and state officials have declined to discuss what recourse they have for dealing with the revolt.
But the consequences are clear, some health professionals say: Even as Michigan’s coronavirus rates have declined, many of the state’s hospitals remain at capacity because of covid-19 patients.