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Whitmer taking more heat after photo emerges of her at crowded table in restaurant

Posted at 5:35 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 17:46:46-04

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer is again apologizing after a picture surfaced over the weekend showing her s in an East Lansing restaurant at a table with 13 people.

The current COVID-19 orders require no more than six people at a table and six feet of social distancing.

“It was an honest mistake and I have apologized for it,” Governor Whitmer said this morning at a news conference in Grand Rapids.

“Michiganders who deserve more than a hollow apology from our governor,” says Tori Sachs with the Michigan Freedom Fund.

Critics now say the governor needs to lift all restrictions now and not wait until July 1. They also say the state needs to pay back fines imposed on businesses and local units of government for allegedly violating COVID-19 safety orders.

Today the Governor lifted an order that said employees who could work remotely needed to for safety.

The state does not list health care fines imposed on bars and restaurants. But there is a list of alleged workplace safety violations and fines. We looked at the ones in our area.

  • $4,000 at Wendy’s in Eastpointe.
  • $6,300 at the Kroger gas station on Gratiot in Roseville.
  • $9,800 at the South Lake Schools in St. Clair Shores
  • $6,300 against the City of Port Huron.

Port Huron City Manager James Freed tells 7 Action News, the state has tried to negotiate a reduced settlement, pennies on the dollar to keep the violation on record. He says the state has no evidence, the claims are baseless.

The city offered to provide surveillance video proof but the state didn’t want to see it. And that Port Huron will fight their fines before the Administrative Law Judge.

The Governor today said, “It's those that have flouted and put people's safety at risk that, you know, are the most concerning but I don't know that there's a lot more for me to add at this in time.”

Tori Sachs tells 7 Action News, “We’re calling for all restrictions to be lifted to be ended today, and I think everyone who has been accused of a similar offense needs to be pardoned. All of the fines that have been levied by the state, need to be refunded.”

The governor says today she hopes there never another order. But her 50% capacity on bars, restaurants, and other indoor businesses remains in effect until July 1 unless there is a new COVID-`19 outbreak.