As states continue to suffocate small businesses and restaurants with restrictions and lockdowns, a pizzeria owner in Michigan has been arrested after ignoring state restrictions and a court order. Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, the owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, Michigan, was brought into custody after failing to comply in a civil case filed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Despite state restrictions in the midst of the pandemic, state officials reported Pavlos-Hackney kept her restaurant open for indoor dining and didn’t enforce capacity limits or mask mandates in her restaurant. She then had her food license suspended on January 20th by the Department only to still remain open.
However, Pavlos-Hackney remains steadfast in her rebellion, combatting what she saw as authoritarianism and standing up for individual rights and liberty. As a Polish immigrant, she fled communism in 1983 and arrived in America in 1988, becoming an American citizen in 1992, and opened her business in Michigan to carve a better life for herself, now threatened by smothering lockdowns to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“We the people, small-business owners, like I told you, have to fight. I will fight for freedom [for] the American people. And I encourage everyone, business owners, other people—stand up and fight for your freedom before it’s going to be taken away,” Pavlos-Hackney told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson this week.
In an interview with BlazeTV radio host Glenn Beck, she said she refuses to have the government “intimidate me or put fear in me.”
“I’m going to keep fighting for American freedom and my constitutionally protected rights,” she said.
Though she initially closed her pizzeria for three months, she decided to open her doors after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had “overextended her power.”
“So I decided, we, the small-business owners, have to take control against this tyranny. Because we the people have to have jobs to be able to survive,” she said. “Government and government entities have job security because they are a service. But we the people have to fight for our existence and keep working. So I decide they are not going to close me down.”
Following her defiance, a warrant for her arrest was issued and she was given until March 18 to turn herself by an administrative judge in February, which she failed to do so.
Obviously, Pavlos-Hackney came under serious fire for her defiance, accused of putting the community at risk. “You have selfishly not followed the orders. … This is the wrong way to get publicity,” Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina slammed. “It’s the wrong way to be a good citizen.”
“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,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
Despite an outpouring of support by the community with a GoFundMe raising $150,000 for her legal fees, Pavlos-Hackney has been denied bail and currently remains in Ingham County Jail until she agrees to follow judge orders.