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NMU redirects funds; U.P. establishment has license suspended

MARQUETTE — Money is being redirected in the Northern Michigan University community as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

In a Monday letter to NMU faculty and staff, President Fritz Erickson said that he and the NMU Executive Council decided that funds budgeted for the university’s traditional holiday and end-of-semester activities that were suspended this year — about $20,000 — will be forwarded to two areas to help the students most impacted by the pandemic.

The annual scholarships fund will receive $10,000, as will the Student Flexibility Fund for addressing unexpected financial burdens.

One of the largest of these canceled events, Erickson said, is the annual faculty and staff holiday party.

“While it is unfortunate that we cannot gather to celebrate as we traditionally do, we’ll plan to have a special event when gathering is again a safe activity,” Erickson said. “Until then, we know that faculty and staff are concerned about helping our students navigate this unprecedented time and this could help to meet some critical, unmet need.”

Erickson also announced that NMU’s COVID-19 dashboard, found at https://nmu.edu/safe-on-campus/, will be put on pause until the winter semester resumes on Jan. 19.

He noted NMU’s Vielmetti Health Center is still open and administering flu shots.

“As the COVID-19 situation worsens, it becomes even more important to not add additional burden to our health care systems and health care providers,” Erickson said. “Please consider getting a flu shot if you have not already done so.”

Nurses urge restaurants to follow COVID-19 rules

The Michigan Nurses Association, the largest organization representing Michigan’s registered nurses, urged restaurants Wednesday to follow the state’s COVID-19 mitigation rules to “reduce the spread of the deadly disease during this critical period,” MNA officials said in a release.

This follows the ruling in the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association’s federal lawsuit challenging the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ order temporarily prohibiting indoor dining at restaurants and bars.

“Nurses see the horrible human cost of COVID-19 every day, now more than ever,” MNA President and critical care nurse Jamie Brown, RN, said in the release. “We hold the hands of people who die alone in the hospital. We put our own lives at risk to take care of our neighbors suffering from this deadly disease. Nothing can be more important than saving lives right now by stopping the spread of COVID-19. Nurses continue to beg fellow residents to wear a mask, avoid gatherings and wash their hands. We urge Michigan restaurants to show leadership by honoring the state’s temporary prohibition on indoor dining. While we understand the tremendous financial sacrifice that the restaurant industry is experiencing, saving lives must come first. We all have to do our part right now to come through the other side of this surge with as few people dying as possible.”

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon also issued a statement on Wednesday after the court ruling in the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association lawsuit.

“We are happy that today’s ruling keeps in place measures that will save lives by limiting specific indoor gatherings that greatly increase the risk of COVID-19 spread,” Gordon said. “The science is settled: public health experts from around the nation and world say these types of actions must be taken to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases. These protocols on specific indoor gatherings, along with wearing face masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing, give Michigan a fact-based approach to slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can return to a strong economy and get back to normal safely as soon as we can.”

Houghton establishment has license suspended

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission has issued emergency suspensions of the liquor licenses and permits held by three Michigan businesses, including one in Houghton, according to a news release from the State Emergency Operations Center.

For the Rock House/Mine Shaft, the commission issued an emergency suspension order of the Class C and SDM liquor licenses with Specific Purpose Permits, Outdoor Service Area Permit, Sunday Sales Permit, Extended Hours Permit, Additional Bar and Dance-Entertainment Permits on Nov. 25, officials said.

The licensee is scheduled to appear before an administrative law judge on Thursday for a virtual hearing via Zoom, to determine whether this summary suspension should continue or other fines and penalties should be imposed, according to the release.

The other two businesses with emergency suspensions were Chapz Roadhouse located in downstate Lakeview and Silver Beach Hotel located in downstate St. Joseph.

According to the release, the licensees’ multiple violations of the current Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Emergency Order include: allowing nonresidential, in-person gatherings; providing in-person dining; failure to require face coverings for staff and patrons; and failure to prohibit patrons from congregating.

Since September, the MLCC has suspended liquor licenses of an additional six establishments located in Newaygo, Fremont, Fenton, Muskegon Heights, Conklin and Grand Rapids for violations of the emergency and executive orders due to the pandemic.

“Licensees are strictly prohibited from allowing indoor gatherings, as defined by the MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order, on their licensed premises,” officials said in the release. “Further, these prohibited gatherings held without requiring patrons to wear face masks pose an immediate threat to the health, safety and welfare of the public. Allowing this activity to continue could create additional outbreaks of COVID-19.”

All licensees must not only comply with the MDHHS orders but also local health department orders, and local ordinances regarding reduced occupancy rates and social distancing protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

The public can report any suspected noncompliance issue at an establishment directly to the MLCC. The MLCC’s Enforcement Division, on behalf of the commission, investigates all complaints relative to allegations of violations of the code, rules and executive orders.

The public may file a complaint with the MLCC Enforcement Division online or by calling the MLCC Enforcement hotline, toll-free, at 866-893-2121. MLCC’s website at www.michigan.gov/lcc provides information on the MDHHS emergency order, indoor service restrictions, face mask requirements and more.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 250. Her email is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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